Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises
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Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises

Edited by Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Kyle Beardsley and David Quinn

Current conceptions of mediation can often fail to capture the complexity and intricacy of modern conflicts. This Research Handbook addresses this problem by presenting the leading expert opinions on international mediation, examining how international mediation practices, mechanisms and institutions should adapt to the changing characteristics of contemporary international crises.
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Chapter 21: Mediation and the prevention of violence against civilians

Lisa Hultman


Conflicts sometimes escalate into human security crises in which armed actors use violence against civilians to pursue their political or military goals. This chapter discusses the role of mediation in the context of violence against civilians. Can mediation be a useful tool for persuading actors engaged in one-sided violence against civilians to halt their activities? And how common are such attempts by the international community? The descriptive analysis shows that mediation is more frequent following violence against civilians by the government; the same is not true when civilians are targeted by rebel groups. At the same time, levels of government-perpetrated violence are higher following mediation, while levels of rebel-perpetrated violence are lower. The chapter also explores to what extent changes around the turn of the millennium, such as 9/11 and the adoption of the Responsibility to Protect, have altered the relationship between mediation and violence against civilians.

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