This book offers an account and evaluation of the use of safety zones in the 1990s. In April 1991, the United States, Britain and France, with the tacit approval of the Security Council, sent troops into northern Iraq to create a safe haven for the Kurds fleeing from Saddam Hussein’s repression. In May 1993, the Security Council designated six ‘safe areas…free from any armed attack or any other hostile act’ in Bosnia-Herzegovina in an attempt to protect Muslims from ethnic cleansing by Serbs.1 In May 1994, the Security Council mandated a strengthened United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) to ‘contribute to the security and protection of displaced persons, refugees and civilians at risk in Rwanda through the establishment and maintenance, where feasible, of secure humanitarian areas’,2 though such zones were never created. In June 1994, authorized by the Security Council to launch a temporary operation under national command and control, France chose to set up a ‘zone humanitaire sûre’ (ZHS) as a means to contribute to the ‘security and protection of displaced persons, refugees and civilians at risk in Rwanda’.3 In each case, with implicit or explicit backing by the Security Council, some combination of the United States, Britain, France, and their allies intervened, or considered intervening, militarily through the creation of safety zones, variously called safe havens, safe areas or zones humanitaires sûres, in order to ensure the security of civilians and displaced persons targeted by extreme violence.


European Union Security Council Safety Zone Safe Haven Geneva Convention 
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Copyright information

© Carol McQueen 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol McQueen
    • 1
  1. 1.United Nations Peacekeeping MissionDemocratic Republic of Congo

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