Volume IV: Protecting and rebuilding: Australian peacekeeping in internal conflicts, 1993–2008 (provisional title)

This volume examines Australian involvement in several missions during a resurgence of international peacekeeping from 1993. After initial optimism of a “New World Order” after the end of the Cold War, the international community was struggling to deal with conflict in a host of countries, often involving complex humanitarian emergencies and civil war.

The first section of the volume describes Australia’s participation in peacekeeping and peace enforcement missions to Somalia, where hundreds of thousands had died after a famine caused by drought and clan warfare. Australia contributed a small movement control unit to the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM), and then a 1,000-strong battalion group to the UN-sanctioned Unified Task Force (UNITAF) from 1992 to 1993. This was the largest overseas deployment by the ADF since the Vietnam War.

The second section examines the Australian deployment of a medical contingent, with accompanying infantry protection, to Rwanda in the aftermath of the country’s 1994 genocide. Serving with the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), the Australians helped re-establish the Kigali Central Hospital in the Rwandan capital. In 1995 a group of Australian soldiers witnessed a massacre in the Kibeho displaced-persons camp, in which several thousand Rwandans are thought to have been killed.

The third section considers Australian military and police personnel serving in smaller numbers in peacekeeping missions in other countries or regions, including: Mozambique, Haiti, Guatemala, the Ethiopia–Eritrea border, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

Authors:Dr Bob Breen and Dr Jean Bou

Author: Dr Jean Bou

Update: Jean is presently researching and writing chapters related to Australia’s contribution to UNAMIR in Rwanda.

Dr Jean Bou is a historian at the Australian War Memorial and visiting fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. He has been involved with the Official History of Australian Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Post Cold War Operations since 2006, first as a research assistant and more recently as an author. Along with Dr Bob Breen he is co-author of Volume IV and is examining Australia’s missions to Haiti, Guatemala and Rwanda.

Jean holds post-graduate degrees in history from the University of Queensland and the University of New South Wales (University College, Australian Defence Force Academy). His doctoral thesis was on the history of the Australian Light Horse, a development of which was published by Cambridge University Press as Light horse: a history of Australia’s mounted arm in 2009.
He is the author, co-author or co-editor of several books on Australian military history, including Australia’s Palestine Campaign, The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History, Duty First, and Australian Peacekeeping. Jean has also been published in numerous journals and magazines, including The Journal of Military History, and has also contributed entries to several military history reference books. A reserve officer in the Army History Unit, he is writing a history of the army’s involvement in the Korean War for the unit’s Campaign Series.

Further information:

• Australian War Memorial Military History Section

P01735.381Members of 1RAR serving with UNITAF distribute grain to starving Somalis. 1993. Photo: George GittoesP01735.381

P05553.003Australian Police Officers watching a supporters' rally for President Aristide. Haiti. 1994. P05553.003

P04111.010Australian soldiers, with a Rwandan mother and child wait to evacuate from Kibeho refugee camp. 1995. Photo: George GittoesP04111.010

P02211.033Medical personnel of AMSF treating a wounded refugee. Rwanda, 1995.P02211.033

P04174.007Members of UNMEE, Eritrea. 2001.P04174.007