All forms of peacekeeping, whether military or civilian, involve the use of various kinds of pressure and influence to change the behavior of armed actors.
These range from the pure coercion that comes from the barrel of a gun to the much more subtle (and generally more effective) influences that convince and/or assist armed actors to behave differently. In between these extremes are a range of strategies that seek to influence those who are engaging in violence or abuse of civilians.
Simply by being present at a military checkpoint or in a village that is under attack, unarmed civilian peacekeepers invariably affect the dynamics of the situation and can change the behavior of armed actors. With a more sophisticated analysis of who is causing the violence and why, unarmed civilian peacekeepers can use additional pressures and influences to affect the behavior of those actors, including moral pressures, peer pressures, economic, political, legal and many other pressures that can be brought to bear on the situation. These include being condemned by the international community or indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
NP’s approach to UCP, by contrast, relies solely on dialogue with the armed actors themselves to help them behave in ways that will reduce violence and protect civilians. This approach depends on building relationships of mutual trust and understanding that preclude the kinds of ‘naming and shaming’ that other forms of UCP may involve.