• protection;
  • United Nations;
  • peacekeeping;
  • resilience;
  • empowerment

Civilian protection mandates in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations have become increasingly common since 1999. This article suggests that these mandates should be recalibrated to help build resilient local communities and empower civilian populations to have a greater say in their national governance structures. However, while peacekeepers could reasonably give greater emphasis to building local resilience, the empowerment agenda is largely beyond their means. This leaves some UN peacekeeping operations in the perilous position of working to protect civilians at the operational level without addressing some of the key structural conditions that give rise to violence against civilians.