|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
15th Meeting (AM)
No Greater Sign of Country’s Commitment to Collective Security than Willingness
to Send Its Nationals into Harm’s Way Under UN Flag, Fourth Committee Hears
Delegates Agree Pause in Years-Long Surge in Demand for Peacekeeping
Chance to Reflect on Sustainability, Strategic Framework, Elements for Success
There was no greater sign of a Member State’s commitment to collective security than the willingness to send its nationals into harm’s way under the United Nations flag, Fourth Committee delegates heard today as their Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) entered day two of their annual discussion of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
Opening the morning’s debate, Brazil’s representative said that after years of surge in demand for peacekeeping, there was now a pause in the growth of troop levels and budgets, which provided an opportunity to reflect on the long-term sustainability of the peacekeeping system as a whole. For peacekeeping to remain a successful endeavour, the process should be considered through the lens of sustainability. Two dimensions of that sustainability involved the need for peacekeeping missions to make a truly lasting contribution to peace, and secondly, the peacekeeping system as a whole must have long-term viability.
The challenges to peacekeeping had grown, however, in step with the United Nations role in post-conflict, she said. Peacekeeping’s increasing complexity, which had emerged out of necessity, meant that patrolling ceasefire lines was rarely enough to keep the peace. Rather, the Secretariat must continue its work to find innovative solutions to complex problems.
While addressing immediate threats and short-term problems, it was also important not to lose sight of the long-term peacebuilding needs, she said. Missions should support and strengthen the host countries without generating a dependence that would require the mission to remain in place for decades. As the Brahimi report emphasized, missions should have a light footprint. However, that did not necessarily translate into smaller missions, but to more effective ones.
Similarly, Lebanon’s representative said that since peacekeeping now appeared to be entering a period of consolidation after a period of substantial growth, it was time to draw on lessons learned to finalize the strategy for critical early peacebuilding tasks. That strategy should focus not only on police, justice and corrections, and mine action, but also on economic revival and sustainable development.
To achieve a sustainable peace, proffered Viet Nam’s speaker, conflicts must be resolved by addressing their root causes through engaging all involved parties based on dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes, and by finding long-term solutions to the comprehensive political, security, economic and humanitarian dimensions of a given problem.
He said that experience had shown that when United Nations operations were deployed in inappropriate circumstances, the results could be disastrous for the population within the conflict area as well as for the peacekeepers themselves. However, an in-depth understanding of the specific country setting, the application of the right response tools and the early synchronization of steps leading towards more normalized situations were the best guarantee for a gradual transition to early recovery and the best deterrence against risks to peacekeepers.
Along those lines, Indonesia’s representative encouraged the Department of Safety and Security to consider the concept of forming host-country committees, wherein local actors were brought to the table, and greater emphasis placed on national features in order to improve peacekeepers’ safety. He also advocated for strong national ownership of peacebuilding programmes, as it was imperative that the engagement of the Peacebuilding Commission be “early and seamless”. Additionally, the capacities of developing countries and women should be further mobilized in addressing conflict prevention and its intermediate aftermath.
Also speaking were the representatives of Guatemala, Peru, Uruguay, Senegal, Syria, Ukraine, Costa Rica, Cuba, Switzerland, Singapore and Venezuela.
The representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also spoke.
The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 26 October, to continue its general debate on peacekeeping.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its general debate on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil), aligning her statement with that made on behalf of the Rio Group, said that peacekeeping had become more complex than ever. This increasing complexity, which had grown out of necessity, meant that patrolling ceasefire lines was rarely enough to keep the peace. As the United Nations role in post-conflict situations had grown, so had the challenges it faced. Those growing peacekeeping challenges required creativity and determination. Her delegation appreciated the Secretariat’s work to find innovative solutions to complex problems. She drew attention to the continued need to contribute to that search, which had included the holding of “A new horizon for United Nations peacekeeping: perspectives from the South” seminar. The conclusions were circulated as official document A/64/907.
For peacekeeping to remain a successful endeavour, she stressed the need to consider the process through the lens of sustainability. Touching on two dimensions of that sustainability, she said that peacekeeping missions must make a truly lasting contribution to peace, and secondly, the peacekeeping system as a whole must have long-term viability. The main goal of peacekeeping missions was to support the establishment of peace. While addressing immediate threats and short-term problems, it was important not to lose sight of the long-term peacebuilding needs. The role of missions should be to support and strengthen the host countries of operations, without generating a dependence that would require the mission to remain in place for decades. In that sense, the Brahimi report’s emphasis of the need for missions to have a light footprint remained relevant. That did not necessarily translate into smaller missions, but to more effective ones.
She went on to say that successful peacekeeping required a robust military presence; however that presence alone could not guarantee a sustainable peace. Democratic governance, economic development and the protection of civilians were ultimately the responsibility of the State. The United Nations must guarantees an environment in which a political and economic process could move forward. Peacekeeping must encompass early peacebuilding whenever possible.
For missions to fulfil their mandates, they must support local populations in building a peaceful society, and the work of public information and civil affairs components deserved more attention, she said. When properly used and adequately resourced, civil society could exponentially increase a mission’s capacity to extend State authority. Coordination should be enhanced between peacekeeping missions and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, both at United Nations Headquarters and on the ground. It was necessary to make the United Nations system “actually work like one”. However, that was no easy task and would require the continued efforts of Member Sates and the Secretariat on multiple fronts.
She said that peacekeeping was a massive endeavour by any measure. Over the past few years, Member States and the Secretariat had scrambled to ensure the smooth operation of an ever more complex system. As there was now a pause in the growth of troop levels and budgets, it was perhaps an opportunity to reflect on the long-term sustainability of the peacekeeping system as a whole. Concerned parties must maintain and increase support to troop- and police-contributing countries. There was no clearer sign of a Member State’s commitment to collective security than the willingness to send its nationals into harm’s way under the United Nations flag. The international community must ensure that peacekeeping continued to enjoy ample political legitimacy. Collective security was a collective responsibility, and all Member States needed to be able to be fully engage in it. All interested States should join in the decision-making process and solidify peacekeeping’s political legitimacy within the Organization. Brazil was strongly committed to strengthening the Special Committee and ensuring that that views of host countries, troop-contributing countries and other Member States were heard more clearly.
MÓNICA BOLAÑOS-PÉREZ ( Guatemala) acknowledged peacekeeping as an indispensable tool for the work of the United Nations, an enterprise in which Guatemala participated as a troop-contributing country. As a result of political developments over the last decade and related changes in the international security environment, peacekeeping operations had ceased to be purely military; they had become multidimensional and had adapted to the new circumstances, which had required an unprecedented increase in the operations’ number and scale. The mandates had also become more complex and difficult to implement, both for the Organization and for troop-contributing countries, and operations were now more dangerous for peacekeeping personnel and more costly. While the United Nations proved its capacity to adapt to those changes, the adjustments were slow and strongly affected by financial and technical limitations.
In addition to what was expressed by Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and by Chile, on behalf of the Rio Group, she added several points, including that it was fundamental to the United Nations to incorporate an effectively integrated and coordinated approach to peace and security; peacekeeping operations must have clear, credible and achievable mandates tailored to the particular circumstances of each situation; recent incidents had illustrated the insecure environment in which missions carried out their work. The tasks contained in complex mandates were indivisible, and each was of equal importance. In addition, there was a question regarding the meaning of “robust” peacekeeping, and there was an idea of “deterrent capacity” with the ultimate purpose of diminishing the need to use force. Peacebuilding strategies should address socio-economic aspects and, with regard to the Secretariat’s reform process, Guatemala hoped there would be a frank dialogue among Member States.
In terms of the global field support strategy, Guatemala was interested in improvement of support and logistics in the field, she said. In addition, Guatemala sought discussion of all proposals aimed at improving the performance of peacekeeping operations. Guatemala emphasized the importance of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, and concluded by saying it was time to move away from piecemeal reforms, stringent management and command systems, disproportionate mandates and resources, and problems of scale.
GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ (Peru), aligning his delegation with statements made on behalf of the Rio Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that 10 of the 16 peacekeeping operations currently had complex, multidimensional mandates. The Brahimi report had indicated that the key to success for complex missions was commitment, political support, rapid deployment and a strategy for rebuilding peace. The United Nations was on the correct path towards ongoing dialogue. The first report on the situation of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support was positive; his delegation also saw progress.
He said that one of greatest dangers of mandate inefficiency fell to underfunding. He meanwhile highlighted the progress achieved in the context of the Global Field Support Strategy. Focus should be maintained on capacity-driven, and not need-driven approaches, before deployment of missions, especially in support of activities for peace consolidation. He stressed the importance of the analysis of causes before and during peacekeeping operations. Reconstruction of the country must be a priority and followed through with logistical and economic resources. He supported all efforts geared towards strengthening peacekeeping operations.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay), aligning himself from the statement made by Chile on behalf of the Rio Group, expressed appreciation to the work of those in peacekeeping. It was not an easy task to maintain the United Nations peacekeeping operations, and there were great expectations by local populations, as operations were complex and multidimensional. Peacekeeping was the flagship of the United Nations and was the most visible face, exposed to United Nations to international scrutiny. There were huge challenges ahead, including how to improve effectiveness without impacting legitimacy. The response to the challenge must be found through a close association among all the players, based on a broad support system, since there were complex mandates. Greater commitment and involvement was needed in that regard.
He noted the progress made by the New Horizons initiative, which had produced an increase in dialogue; it was not just about more meetings, but better meetings. He highlighted the usefulness of triangular, frank dialogue among those who contributed troops and police, and the Secretariat, and others. He hoped that model would be deepened in the future. In order to achieve sustainable progress in complex missions, the Special Committee should play a star role in the process. That Committee had shown what it could do in discussing, frankly, what “is lived” in the field. It could become a relevant player in the system, especially for those of contributing countries. A good example was the development of protection of civilians. In the last two reports, the Committee changed its language and enriched the discussion by including the needs of those who contributed troops. It recognized that missions needed a strategic framework and, thus, requested a document based on lessons learned in that area. His country would continue to contribute to that issue, along the lines of the workshop it had coordinated last year with Australia.
HASAN KLEIB (Indonesia), associating himself with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that United Nations peacekeeping must be “clearly” and “firmly” based on its three basic principles: consent of the parties concerned, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence and in defence of the Security Council’s mandate. In that context, concrete tasks given to peacekeepers should be accompanied by concrete obligations on the part of the Security Council and the United Nations Secretariat. It was vital that the Council continuously monitor the situation on the ground and ensure that all relevant stakeholders were “meaningfully and genuinely consulted” at all stages. Communication and common understanding on the aims and operations of the various actors was “absolutely essential for the success of the missions”.
He further encouraged the Department of Safety and Security to consider the concept of forming host-country committees — bringing local actors to the table and putting a more national feature on United Nations work — to further improve the safety of United Nations peacekeepers. Also along those lines, there should be “strong national ownership” of peacebuilding programmes; it was imperative that the engagement of the Peacebuilding Commission be “early and seamless”. As for review of civilian capacity, particular attention should be given to mobilizing the capacities of developing countries and women. That would be an important strategy in addressing conflict prevention and its intermediate aftermath. Furthermore, the development of national capacity in areas such as justice, rule of law, governance, development and security should be the first United Nations priority. “The regional and subregional people have the best knowledge of the ground dynamics and often established relations and trust with local population.”
MAJDI RAMADAN ( Lebanon) said peacekeeping should not be an end in itself, but rather part of a political solution. Comprehensive resolution of conflicts by dealing with their core caused remained the objective. An end to the Israeli occupation in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, the core cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, was a prerequisite to any resolution and successful transition of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the Middle East. He urged respect for the safety and position of United Nations peacekeepers, and for Security Council resolutions. Crimes like the 1996 Israeli attack on the headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and, in 2006, on the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in South Lebanon should never be repeated.
He said that successful peacekeeping operations depended on developing clear and achievable mandates, adhering to the general principles of peacekeeping, establishing a strong link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and strengthening the role of regional and subregional organizations. He emphasized the key role of the Special Committee in policy formulation and development and that of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) in resource allocation, and underscored that protecting civilians was the primary responsibility of host countries.
As peacekeeping now appeared to be entering a period of consolidation after a substantial growth period, it was time to draw on lessons learned to finalize the strategy for critical early peacebuilding tasks undertaken by peacekeepers, he said. That strategy should focus, not only on police, justice and corrections, and mine action, but also on economic revival and sustainable development. On capability development, the Secretariat should identify critical gaps and develop a comprehensive capability-driven approach that addressed both uniform and civilian needs.
PHAM VINH QUANG ( Viet Nam) said that the almost 124,000 personnel currently serving on 16 United Nations peacekeeping missions represented a nine-fold increase in peacekeepers since 1999. Since peacekeeping was a collective undertaking, its success required the full support and political backing of all Member States. The establishment and deployment of peacekeeping missions should strictly observe the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, as well as those that had evolved, including consent of concerned parties, the non-use of force except in self-defence and impartiality.
He underlined the importance of ensuring unity of command, lines of accountability, integration of efforts and safety and security through all phases of reform. Troop- and police-contributing countries should be involved early and fully to contribute their expertise and experience to decision-making at Headquarters and in the field. To achieve a sustainable peace, conflicts must be resolved by addressing their root causes through engaging all involved parties based on dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes, and by finding long-term solutions to the comprehensive political, security, economic and humanitarian dimensions of a given problem. Experiences had shown that when United Nations operations were deployed in inappropriate circumstances, the results could be disastrous for the population within the conflict area and for the peacekeepers, themselves. However, an in-depth understanding of the specific country setting, the application of the right response tools and the early synchronization of steps leading towards more normalized situations were the best guarantee for a gradual transition to early recovery and the best deterrence against risks to peacekeepers.
PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) endorsed the statement by Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, and added that peacekeeping was one of the most important tasks of the United Nations, and was part of the responsibilities of the Organization’s mandate, as enshrined in the Charter. The world needed men and women, serving in such operations, and his delegation would use the opportunity of today’s meeting to pay a heartfelt tribute to the professional conscience and remarkable courage of the “blue helmets.” Senegal had been participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations since 1960.
Continuing, he said that deployment in peacekeeping operations must comply with the mandate and objectives and tasks to be performed and there was a need for sound planning, particularly dialogue between the Security Council, the Secretariat, and troop contributing countries. The success of such operations required deployment of skilled personnel, who were able to respect the customs in their areas of operation.
He said that providing equipment and predictable funding were challenges. Financial problems in peacekeeping were due to non-payment of Member States, especially developing countries, who were fraught with bad economic situations themselves. In addition, he stressed the need to bolster the African Union’s conflict deterrence, mediation and peacekeeping capability. In peacekeeping, there was a need for coherent planning and action, and to tap all of the political and socio-economic tools at disposal. Further, there was a need to mainstream preventive diplomacy to “nip” some situations in the bud. It was arduous, but he remained resolute.
IHAB HAMED ( Syria) said that the maintenance of international peace and security rested on the shoulders of the United Nations. The world body’s Charter emphasized the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the non-interference in internal affairs. Peacekeeping should abide by those principles, and mission mandates and should be clear and achievable. Syria had always supported efforts to deploy peacekeeping out of the belief and conviction that major developments were achieved, as had been witnessed. However, peacekeeping was not an alterative to lasting solutions of disputes.
A number of peacekeeping operations were currently tasked with the job of protecting civilians, which should be the responsibility of the host country. Peacekeeping operations should do their job without jeopardizing the tasks of the national Government or the importance of a tripartite partnership. Despite the pretence of deploying peacekeeping operations for a short duration, they were now measured in terms of decades, and in some cases, more than half a century. Israel defied international resolutions and caused a great threat to the peace in the Middle East. He called on the international community to exercise pressure on Israel to put an end to its occupation so that the people of the region could live in peace, and the personnel of the missions dealing with that issue could return to their families. He commended the countries that were working on demining, and expressed condolences for those who had fallen in the line of duty.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, Director-General for the United Nations and Other International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said that to ensure the success in the United Nations peacekeeping, a strategy of expansion had to give way to a policy of consolidation. Ukraine’s President had highlighted two areas that needed close scrutiny: strengthening of the United Nations peacekeeping capabilities and improvement of legal protection of the “Blue Helmets”.
He said that the General Assembly had recognized the need for increased contributions by troop-contributing countries in terms of military utility helicopters and, for the first time, linked such a prospect with the review of the reimbursement system (document A/64/19, paragraph 73), calling upon Member States, the Secretariat and relevant organs of the United Nations to take necessary implementation steps. The issue should be addressed that the 2011 Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment, the next Special Committee substantive session, and other United Nations forums as might be necessary. The aim was to create an understandable, equal and transparent system that would motivate troop-contributing countries to provide the United Nations with such crucial issues as reimbursement rates for military air assets, including helicopters.
Addressing the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers would first require revisiting existing United Nations policies regarding investigation of crimes committed against them, he said. There was a need to establish a clear legal framework enabling troop- and police-contributing countries concerned to get involved in investigations. He suggested, among other things, exploring the rationale behind the idea of elaborating in the United Nations framework a model trilateral agreement between the United Nations, troop-contributing countries and the host country on legal assistance in cases of crimes committed against peacekeepers. He drew attention to a request of the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive report to the 2011 session of the Special Committee on all the processes involved in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against deployed United Nations peacekeepers.
MARCELA ZAMORA ( Costa Rica) said the discussion on peacekeeping provided an opportunity to discuss how to tackle impending challenges. As peacekeeping was the flagship activity of the United Nations, the reflections being engaged in within the last year on peacekeeping were valuable. She said that exercise was a step in the right direction and pointed to effective partnership and achieving what was necessary in peacekeeping operations in the twenty-first century. She said that Costa Rica was in a part of the world that had seen the successful completion of three peacekeeping missions. The keys to those successes were clarity in objectives and mandates of the Security Council, appropriation of the process by the receiving countries and broad, transparent and timely communication amongst all involved players. The United Nations should promote and not just maintain peace, she said.
She went on to welcome the events that had taken place since the “New Horizons” vision had been introduced as a means to adapt to the challenges arising today. Updating the Organization’s peace operations was an enormous challenge that must be tackled, especially towards managing growing expectations with increasingly limited resources. Today’s meeting should be the starting point for a discussion on how to consolidate best practices in that regard. Since many of the relevant resolutions were now ten years old, it was necessary to take stock of what was previously agreed upon, make revisions, and include elements of experience that had proven indispensable for the success on the ground. Peacekeeping needed to close the gap between those making decisions, those implementing decisions in the field, and the host countries. Underscoring the usefulness of triangular decisions, he expressed the hope that it would continue to be systematically strengthened.
REBECA HERNÁNDEZ TOLEDANO ( Cuba) aligned her statement with interventions made by Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, and by Chile on behalf of the Rio Group. She noted that the characteristics of peacekeeping had changed over the past years, and its challenges had increased. Thus, Cuba reminded the Committee that such operations needed to adhere to the Charter of the United Nations, and its principles such as sovereignty, non-interference, the non-use of force, and impartiality. Sticking to those tenets would strengthen the United Nations in all aspects of peacekeeping, she said, reiterating that the General Assembly had primary responsibility for oversight of peacekeeping mandates.
Over the past few years, discussions had increased regarding the protection of civilians, and Cuba believed States bore the primary responsibility for such protection. The United Nations should concern itself with ensuring that its peace operations had feasible mandates and appropriate resources. The United Nations should take into consideration that a lasting peace could not occur without a corollary effort to tackle underdevelopment and poverty. She stressed that new and complex peacekeeping missions were a temporary answer for security, and therefore needed to be replaced by efforts at sustainable development. Peace consolidation in the early stages of a conflict was needed, followed by a strengthening of national development strategies. The Peacebuilding Commission needed to play a larger role and to expand its recognition of regional arrangements for peacekeeping, which must correspond to Chapter VIII of the Charter.
SERGE A. BAVAUD ( Switzerland) said the challenges facing peacekeeping were considerable. Dramatic changes had drastically altered the nature of the field work and made it necessary to radically adapt the structures of United Nations peacekeeping missions and the way they were conducted. He was delighted with the many processes for discussion and reform launched by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Secretariat and troop contributors. It was important that those different processes lead to compatible conclusions, making it possible to renew an effective partnership between all peacekeeping actors. Priority should be given to the relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and the topic went beyond the framework of the activities of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The latter was a central actor, notably through the Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions, although it needed the support of other actors in the United Nations system to meet the challenges. He would await with interest the strategy which the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was preparing on peacebuilding tasks at the request of the Special Committee.
He said that the Global Field Support Strategy was an ambitious plan for reforming the support system over the next five years. The discussions that had taken place in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) during the sixty-fourth session showed that questions remained on specific points with regard to the strategy’s implementation. That was inevitable with a project of that size, but he felt that the strategy as a whole had the support of Member States, as evident by the adoption of General Assembly resolutions. The objectives must now be to develop the quality and rapidity of support for the restoration and maintenance of peace. As for the protection of civilians, Switzerland welcomed the fact that the Special Committee had considered the question over the past three years. His delegation would do its best in the course of the session to maximize the effectiveness of working procedures of the Special Committee.
LIM YOON BOON ( Singapore) said that the operating environment for peacekeeping continued to grow in complexity. The expectations of the international community and local populations of peacekeeping operations remained high, and to ensure effective peacekeeping, strong backing was needed from Headquarters to allow for sound policy advice and development, clear and achievable mandates, and the commitment of necessary resources.
He stressed that sustainable peace and security could only be achieved when the root causes of conflicts were addressed. That should guide the design of peacekeeping operations, which should also be constructed using an integrated and holistic approach that addressed a range of goals, such as conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and post-conflict reconstruction. All operations should build a sense of ownership by the host country and the region, because their support was critical to the success of operations on the ground. It was important to prioritize socio-developmental reconstruction alongside the establishment of peace and security, as reconstruction could help rebuild security in conflict-torn areas. To achieve that, relevant actors in the operations should engage more closely with the Peacebuilding Commission to build a firm nexus between promotion and entrenchment of resilient peace. Artificial walls that inhibited inter-divisional planning and coordination should be dismantled to pave the way for a more strategic, integrated and comprehensive approach to peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
The increasing sexual violence against civilians in armed conflict, was of grave concern, he said. The recent horrendous incidents of mass rapes of hundreds of civilians highlighted once again the critical and urgent need for the protection of civilians in conflict areas. Special attention must be focused on sexual and gender-based violence, as their effects on victims and local communities were devastating and severely hampered national reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts. However, feedback from field visits to peacekeeping missions suggested that peacekeepers in the field were still unclear about what was expected of them in “protection of civilian” tasks. They were also generally untrained in protection of civilians, and lacked the resources required to carry out such tasks. Thus, it was timely to provide clear “protection of civilians” guidance to military peacekeepers and the resources to ensure its implementation.
JORGE VALERO BRICEÑO (Venezuela), aligning himself with the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Rio Group, noted that there was a mismatch of resources provided for troop contributing countries, in light of the complexity and scope of the operations. Venezuela advocated the view that success or failure of a peacekeeping operation was related to the mandate. He stressed the need to adhere to the guiding principles of neutrality; non-use of force, except in self-defence; non-interference; territorial integrity and other tenets. He observed with caution the challenges for formulating policies and doctrines underpinned by the lack of a common vision, and he noted divergent and contradictory views among Member States.
For Venezuela, he said the United Nations had a leading role regarding international peace and security, and thus, his delegation highlighted the authority of the Special Committee to look at peacekeeping comprehensively. It was a legitimate body aimed at improving United Nations peacekeeping operations. He called on the international community to address the source of conflicts, for which a sensitive approach was needed. The delegation paid tribute to the memory of civilians and military personnel who had lost their lives in service to the United Nations flag.
TAMARA AL RIFAI, speaking on behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), stated that “members of the population affected believe that peacekeeping forces should be able to bring them effective physical protection”. Indeed, the protection of civilians lay at the core of international humanitarian law. In that context, she said “the collective aspiration to protect civilians through peacekeeping operations is an encouraging development for making common Article 1 more operational”. The ICRC worked with Governments worldwide to include international humanitarian law into the doctrine, training curriculum and operating procedures of armed forces and police.
She underlined that the distinct roles of the various actors involved in protection should be understood and respected, especially when they operated under one umbrella. Moreover, the concerned populations, authorities and armed groups should be able to distinguish between those different roles. “This distinction is vital for independent humanitarian actors, such as the ICRC,” she emphasized. The ICRC always maintained a neutral, independent, impartial and strictly humanitarian approach to victims in all countries in which it worked. Consequently, it could not be part of any integrated approach, “whether in a UN or other structure”. That said, it renewed its commitment to dialogue and cooperation with troop- and police-contributing countries and the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.
* *** *For information media • not an official record