Latin America peace operations

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Priority areas related to staff deployed in peace operations




Complex peacekeeping operations faced many interrelated challenges in 2003, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR); humanitarian assistance; institution building; strengthening the rule of law; and electoral assistance in post-conflict environments.


Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration


A critical part of peace operations, (DDR) programmes collected, placed in safe storage, or destroyed arms surrendered voluntarily by ex-combatants. In Sierra Leone, the United Nations operation supported reintegration benefits for more than 48,000 ex-fighters. Of the 75,000 demobilized, some 4,000 were children. In the DRC, DDRR also included repatriation of Rwandese, Ugandan and Burundian ex-combatants. The United Nations Mission in Liberia launched its DDR programme in December, with over 40,000 ex-combatants expected to take part, while in Côte d’Ivoire the United Nations mission provided active support for DDR planning. A United Nations DDR programme began in Kunduz, Afghanistan, in the fall.


In the Pacific region, the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville verified and certified in July the completion of the second stage of the Weapons Disposal Plan. This major development opened the way for the election of an autonomous Bougainville government.


Mine action


Mine action was an essential part of peace-building in 2003 and played an important role in multidimensional United Nations peace operations in Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Georgia, the Golan Heights, Kosovo, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Western Sahara, as well as in Afghanistan. In some of these areas, United Nations-sponsored mine action coordination centres marked hazardous locations, cleared landmines and unexploded ordnance, undertook mine awareness training in high-risk communities and provided assistance to victims. The United Nations Mine Action Services (UNMAS) also implemented a mine action Rapid Response Plan in Iraq.


Protection of civilians and humanitarian assistance


Responding to the imperative of protecting civilians in armed conflict, the United Nations has placed the principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality at the core of its peacekeeping efforts.


In 2003, humanitarian components of United Nations peacekeeping operations continued to address the needs of civilians, including refugees and internally displaced people.


Efforts were made to ensure a more coherent and strategically coordinated humanitarian response involving recipient countries, non-governmental organizations and other international institutions. Quick impact projects designed to alleviate the immediate needs of the local population served to build confidence and support.


Child protection


Particular attention was given to address the specific needs of children. The appointment of child protection advisers in United Nations peacekeeping missions, including MONUC and UNAMSIL, was instrumental in protecting children’s rights, including halting the recruitment of child soldiers and taking effective measures to disarm, demobilize, reintegrate and rehabilitate children recruited or used in hostilities.


Human rights and the rule of law


Peace operations continued to concentrate on the promotion of human rights and the restoration of the rule of law—both key to building sustainable peace. The United Nations worked to reform police forces and develop democratic institutions in countries and territories facing post-conflict challenges. In Kosovo, UNMIK promulgated a new Criminal Code of Kosovo, which clarified and modernized the definitions of criminal offences and took into account modern principles of international and human rights law, and a new Criminal Procedure Code of Kosovo, which strengthened the powers of prosecutors and enhanced the protection of victims and defendants. The United Nations operation in Liberia included important rule of law components.


Electoral assistance


In 2003, the United Nations continued to provide electoral assistance through its peace operations and the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs. In light of the Organization’s view that electoral assistance is a tool for conflict prevention, the Division responded positively to all of the 20 official new requests made throughout the year while maintaining earlier projects, providing electoral assistance to a total of 43 countries.


As part of the Bonn Agreement and timetable, the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) undertook a wide range of activities for the registration of voters through the deployment of a large electoral assistance team in the country. A team from the Electoral Assistance Division was dispatched to Iraq in mid-2003 to consult with the Iraqi Governing Council, the CPA and a broad range of Iraqi and international actors on the nature of proposed transitional elections. During the year, electoral advisers were deployed in three peace operations in Africa—UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone, MONUC in the DRC, and MINUCI in Côte d´Ivoire—in anticipation of the establishment of major electoral components in the near future.


Peace and economic development


The Security Council continued to encourage Member States to take effective measures to address the economic incentives used to fuel conflicts. In Sierra Leone, the Kimberley Process7 of diamond certification offered an example of how to reduce the scope of illicit transactions in precious stones and raw materials which often support violence in resource-rich countries. In the DRC, in order to end the practice identified as a major factor feeding the conflict, a United Nations Panel of Experts submitted recommendations to the Security Council in October to help the Transitional Government manage these resources transparently. In Kosovo, UNMIK launched a privatization process in 2003 and established progress in economic development as one of the basic standards to be met before final status discussions could begin.


7 The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which began in January 2003, is a negotiating procedure to establish minimum acceptable international standards for national certification schemes covering the import and export of rough diamonds.


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