DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILIZATION AND REINTEGRATION AT HEART OF PEACEKEEPING EFFORTS, SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL20000323
Council Hears 31 Speakers in Open Debate On Maintenance of Peace and Security and Post-Conflict Peace-Building
Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Security Council today that the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was at the heart of peacekeeping efforts, not only in bringing stability to conflict areas, but in addressing their root causes. He urged the Council to view that process as one part of the multi-faceted approach necessary for the success of peacekeeping in the twenty-first century.
Among 31 speakers in today's open debate on the maintenance of peace and security and post-conflict peace-building, the Secretary-General stressed the need to incorporate such provisions into peace agreements at the outset. At the same time, efforts must be renewed in the political sphere, where more could be done to channel differences peacefully through the rule of law. In the humanitarian sphere, more could be done to alleviate the suffering of civilians as the first victims of war and the last beneficiaries of peace.
We must get it right the first time, the representative of Canada said, referring to the need to include disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in peace-building processes, often built on the tenuous trust of weary combatants. That ephemeral opportunity offered few second chances. The process must be part of a network of activities that gave everyone a stake in the stability of the country. Swift and substantive peacekeeping action would lend credibility to the United Nations own effort and to national initiatives.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the representative of Portugal said programmes of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration provided a window of opportunity to advance the peace process - a window that might close if the international community did not swiftly and adequately provide political and financial support. The Union urged the Council to take appropriate follow- up action to the Secretary-General's recommendations to integrate such programmes into multidisciplinary peacekeeping operations by including them in peace agreements. It also shared the Secretary-Generals view that a holistic and long-term approach should be taken to demobilize and reintegrate child soldiers.
The representative of the United Kingdom, who aligned himself with the Unions statement, emphasized that the most important lesson learned from his
Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6830 4118th Meeting (AM & PM) 23 March 2000
country's recent experience with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in Sierra Leone had been the need to place such programmes on a firmer financial footing. In the case of Sierra Leone, the World Bank had tried to persuade donors to contribute. Insufficient resources would jeopardize not only the success of the United Nations mission there, but the peace process as a whole. Proper coordination of all of the players in such programmes was crucial.
Several speakers highlighted the need to define an overall framework for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and for the international community's sustained support. The representative of Mali suggested that such a framework should be accompanied by a timetable and the technical means of implementation. The role of the United Nations in all phases of the process was essential, but if its involvement was to yield tangible results, adequate financing and skilled experts in the demobilization process should be ensured at all stages of the process. Regional initiatives, such as the moratorium on small arms developed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), were also vital, but only an environment of trust in a conflict-torn country would lead to peace.
The representative of Namibia said that conflict-stricken countries, in Africa in particular, could not emerge from protracted civil conflict without the generous assistance of the international community in laying the foundations for durable peace and avoiding a relapse into conflict. Rehabilitation and "detraumatization" of victims of the conflict, especially child soldiers, had been rightly emphasized in the Secretary-General's report. The situation of child soldiers should be addressed from the outset in peace negotiations. The inclusion of a child protection adviser in United Nations operations in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo was particularly welcome.
The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants in the aftermath of conflict was increasingly placing more demands on peacekeeping, making it imperative that the role and scope of contemporary United Nations peacekeeping operations be redefined, the South African representative said. Peacekeeping without the inclusion of those elements would render it moribund in relation to the actual challenges on the ground. The difficult decision made by former combatants to lay down their arms, as well as the vulnerable situation they faced, should always be borne in mind. They were often viewed as traitors and could become victims of their former brothers in arms as they awaited integration while in encampment areas.
The representatives of China, Russian Federation, United States, Argentina, Malaysia, Tunisia, Netherlands, Jamaica, France, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Algeria (for the Organization of African Unity (OAU)), Norway, Japan, New Zealand, Mongolia, Croatia, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Singapore, Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia and Egypt also made statements today.
The meeting, which began at 10:21 a.m. was suspended at 1:17 p.m. It resumed at 3:16 p.m. and was adjourned at 4:42 p.m.
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6830 4118th Meeting (AM) 23 March 2000
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning to consider the report of the Secretary-General on the role of United Nations Peacekeeping (document S/2000/101). As part of its continuing effort to enhance the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping and peace-building activities, the Council considered the matter of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex- combatants in a peacekeeping environment on 8 July 1999. In a presidential statement issued after the meeting (document S/PRST/1999/21), the Council asked the Secretary-General to submit a report on his analysis, observations and recommendations, in order to facilitate its further consideration of the matter. It also urged that the report pay special attention to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers. The present report is submitted in response to that request.
Report of Secretary-General
The report notes that in the civil conflicts of the post-cold-war era, a process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration has repeatedly proved to be vital to stabilizing a post-conflict situation; to reducing the likelihood of renewed violence; and to facilitating a society's transition from conflict to normalcy and development. Furthermore, the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration may have a symbolic and political importance beyond the sum of its parts. Even if full disarmament and demilitarization prove unachievable, a credible programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration may, nonetheless, make a key contribution to strengthening confidence between former factions and enhancing the momentum towards stability.
The foundation of a successful process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, states the Secretary-General, is the political will of the parties to commit themselves to peace. Political leaders must build working relationships through commitment to reconciliation and to undertaking necessary institutional reforms. The widespread engagement and support of civil society, in general, is essential for the long-term impact of the process. At the same time, the complexity and fragility of this process often require the assistance of the international community. As recognized by the Council in its statements on the subject, an impartial United Nations peacekeeping operation can play an essential role, by discharging a number of key tasks, and by helping to create an environment in which the process can ultimately succeed.
The report defines the activities of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration within a peacekeeping environment, as follows: disarmament is the collection of small arms and light and heavy weapons within a conflict zone, and demining may also be part of this process; demobilization refers to the process by which parties to a conflict begin to disband their military structures and combatants begin the transformation into civilian life; reintegration refers to the process which allows ex-combatants and their families to adapt, economically and socially, to productive civilian life.
The Secretary-General explains that his report is intended to outline some of the ways in which a peacekeeping operation may offer key support to a process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, together with some suggestions on how this might be further strengthened. A consideration of past experience shows that a United Nations operation may bring key advantages of impartiality, legitimacy, security, political momentum and resources to the process. It also highlights the unique ability of a peacekeeping operation to coordinate simultaneous efforts in many different areas.
The report also suggests certain measures that favour the ability of a peacekeeping operation to advance disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. If the process is to succeed, its basis should be provided for in a peace agreement, and the international community's advocacy may be essential in ensuring its inclusion. The disarmament process may require provision of expertise and resources to a peacekeeping operation that allow it to offer incentives to combatants; to undertake destruction of weapons; and to monitor and help control regional arms traffic. It may also be necessary for the international community to focus upon the economic dimension of arms flows.
With regard to demobilization, the report notes that a review of past peacekeeping experience also shows the importance of a strong political role and ample resources for peacekeeping operations, including, at times, a deterrent capacity. In addition, it has sometimes been useful to provide some funding within the assessed budget of a peacekeeping operation to allow this process to begin. A peacekeeping operation may make direct contributions to reintegration and may assist in fostering an appropriate political and socio-economic framework; however, further efforts are necessary to enhance the United Nations access to the skills and resources required in this regard. The ability of peacekeeping operations to advance reintegration could also be strengthened through enhancement of international institutional coordination.
By promoting the inclusion of child protection within peace agreements and by integrating it, where appropriate, into the staffing and mandates of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the international community can favour response to the needs of children in the conflict area. It is essential, however, that donors adopt a holistic and long-term view of the demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers, which also embraces social healing and economic development. The measures outlined above, including the provision of separate encampments for children, speedy family reunification and long-term psychosocial assistance have significant staffing and resource implications. Real progress will require sustained political, moral and financial support by both the Secretariat and Member States.
While that kind of engagement may make considerable conceptual and practical demands upon the international community, many of today's conflicts require the international community's strong support for a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, if it is to obtain real returns on its investment in peace. Furthermore, it is important to bear in mind the principle of geographic consistency when considering the potential of peacekeeping operations to support disarmament, demobilization and reintegration -- similar problems should receive comparable responses, regardless of where they occur.
The report finds that the ultimate success of a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process may require efforts long after the withdrawal of a multidisciplinary peacekeeping operation. The deployment of a follow-on mission may help support advances made and make further progress. This has at times consisted of a peacekeeping operations based around police. At other times, the Council has deployed political missions. Relevant skills for such missions may include expertise in legal issues, disarmament, human rights and issues related to child soldiers. As is true for peacekeeping operations, it remains crucial that such operations have a sufficiently broad mandate to make a difference, together with the resources and personnel to achieve that goal.
The role of a peacekeeping operation in post-conflict disarmament, demobilization and reintegration is rooted in and feeds into a broader search for peace and development. The international community's key role in this process is to provide clear, consistent and determined support to an overall peace process and to offer long-term assistance with development. Only within this framework can the international community make a meaningful contribution to the success of a process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
Concerning the disarmament of child soldiers, the report states that where disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes required weapons to be surrendered as a criterion for eligibility, they have often inadvertently excluded children, and especially girls, as was the case in Angola and Liberia. In this context, child soldiers should be considered eligible to enter the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process irrespective of whether they can present themselves at the assembly points with weapons. Even when the principle of child demobilization has been recognized at the policy level and within the plans for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, several demobilization exercises -- such as the ones in Mozambique and Angola -- reveal that concrete implementation of child-conscious demobilization plans has often lagged behind or has been entirely forgotten. Priority must be given in practice to child demobilization.
The Secretary-General states that it is desirable that, after completing the necessary process of documentation at the encampment site, child soldiers should be transferred as soon as possible to an interim care site or centre under civilian control. Immediate separation from adult soldiers is the most efficient way to protect children from further abuse at the time of demobilization.
Essential services such as health, counselling, and psychosocial support should be provided to the children at the civilian interim care site. Any assembly area must be sufficiently far from the conflict zones to ensure security for the children and prevent renewed recruitment. The presence and needs of girl soldiers should be systematically assessed in a way that takes into account their roles serving armies -- as fighters, cooks, messengers, spies, labourers and as wives and sexual slaves.
Concerning the reintegration of child soldiers, the report states that international programmes should plan for long-term assistance to them, and community capacity to sustain the essential services should be developed. A minimum three-year commitment of resources and staff is generally necessary to ensure child-soldier reintegration.
Provision should be made for education and, as appropriate, for relevant vocational training and opportunities for employment or self-employment, including for children with disabilities, the report continues. Reintegration programmes must replace the economic incentives of war for child warriors; at the same time, training or educational programmes should be geared to the existing economy and avoid creating false expectations about the possibilities for economic reinsertion. To avoid stigmatization or the perception that former child soldiers receive "privileged" treatment, support should be provided to the extent possible within the framework of programme assistance to all war-affected children.
The report urges implementation of special protection measures to respond to the needs of girl soldiers. Reintegration programmes must consider the provision of training or services to address the special vulnerabilities of female ex-combatants and their children, especially when the mother is a very young former combatant. Girls or women who have suffered sexual abuse, have been forced to participate in violence, or have had to bear children to their victimizers may risk rejection by their communities, calling for special intervention and community sensitization.
It may also be necessary, the report finds, to make particular efforts in training and employment to ensure the economic reintegration of female ex- combatants. Specific responses are also needed for particularly vulnerable sub- categories, such as children with disabilities, child soldiers with children of their own, or child soldiers with drug additions. This may require linkages between a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme and existing programmes for addressing children's health needs.
KOFI ANNAN, United Nations Secretary-General, said peacekeeping today bore little resemblance to its original character. Many operations sought not only to bring stability to conflict areas, but to address their root causes. That meant tackling a wide variety of needs. In many conflict situations, the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was at the heart of those efforts. No efforts of the United Nations could be a substitute for the political will of the parties to commit themselves to peace. The deployment of United Nations peace operations had made a crucial contribution by helping to create an environment where the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration could proceed. Participants were here today because of their united will to strengthen the Organizations ability to play an effective role in helping societies address the complex issues of that process. Hopefully, todays discussions could lead to a renewed determination to provide peacekeeping operations with the mandates and resources they needed.
He said that if peacekeeping operations were to efficiently support disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, it was essential that such provisions be integrated into every peace agreement. Where feasible, arrangements for the disposal of arms and ammunition should be decided as part of peace negotiations, so that questions of how to dispose of collected arms did not subsequently become a stumbling block. Clearly, an operation aimed at addressing demobilization might require a considerable deterrent capacity, which should be provided early in the deployment. It was also essential to consider arms issues in a regional context. A prerequisite for a regional approach included bilateral cooperation and cooperation among relevant regional organizations, along with the continued support of the Security Council. Stemming arms trafficking would require information on where faction leaders were obtaining, holding and spending funds. While the primary responsibility for integration fell outside peacekeeping, those operations could, nonetheless, play a key role in that important element of post-conflict reconstruction.
It should be ensured that all factions viewed the political process as one in which they could reasonably hope to compete and one that provided a fair and legitimate alternative to violence, he said. In order to succeed in confronting that key challenge, it was necessary to strengthen the special focus on the needs of child soldiers. That meant following up the most recent discussions to include in United Nations operations in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a child protection adviser who could identify child-related concerns in the planning and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration phases. It was also necessary to evolve a more flexible approach by the Council towards the funding for the critical elements of the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, so that the process could proceed even while funding through voluntary sources was being mobilized. The process should also include, among others, the destruction of weapons and provisions for soldiers, including girl soldiers. Experts and trainers for peacekeeping operations in the field were also needed.
He said that the Department for Peacekeeping Operations had worked over the past year to develop training materials for use by Member States in the field. Todays peacekeeping operations had engaged a wide spectrum of partners within and outside the United Nations system, including the World Bank. More and more, it was essential to look beyond the United Nations system to regional organizations and non-governmental organizations with regard to their contribution to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. Those also might assist in building social and political infrastructures.
He urged the Council to view the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration as only one part of the multi-faceted approach necessary to the success of peacekeeping in the twenty-first century. Efforts must also be renewed in the political sphere, where more could be done to channel differences peacefully through the rule of law. In the humanitarian sphere, more could be done to alleviate the suffering of civilians as the first victims of war and the last beneficiaries of peace. In the socio-economic sphere, more could be done towards achieving lasting development. Only within such a broad framework could the international community make a meaningful contribution to the success of post-conflict peace-building.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said that the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process had become an increasingly important component of the United Nations peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building activities, and the process, in particular, as it applied to child soldiers, had drawn wide attention. The current United Nations peacekeeping activities in Kosovo, East Timor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and other places had all, more or less, involved disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.
He said that the Council should attach due importance to the matter and provide policy guidance for work in that field. The process should be included in relevant peace agreements from the very beginning on a case-by-case basis. Because the process involved political, economic, military, social and other factors, the United Nations should listen carefully to and fully respect the opinions of all parties involved, especially those of concerned governments.
Without a relatively secure and stable environment, it would be impossible for the United Nations to carry out such programmes in coordination with concerned countries and parties, he said. Without guaranteed safety, ex-combatants would not voluntarily give up weapons and, in that case, a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process would be out of the question. The conflicting parties should, therefore, demonstrate the political will for the process and maintain the ceasefire in earnest. At the same time, United Nations peacekeeping operations should be put in place as soon as possible, to help stabilize the situation on the ground.
He said that when carrying out such programmes, the international community, including the United Nations, must maintain an impartial and objective attitude, enable all former combatants to be civilianized fully or to be incorporated into regular national forces in accordance with the peace agreements. The existence of illegal armed forces in any form could not be allowed. The KFOR had been in place for several months, but the situation in Kosovo had remained turbulent and volatile, with continued and incessant violence. The Council, therefore, should follow closely the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process in Kosovo and sum up past experiences and lessons. That would enhance an in-depth understanding of the discussion taking place today.
GENNADI M. GATILOV (Russian Federation) agreed with the main conclusion in the report that the key to success was the political will of the parties in the conflict. He supported further enhancement in the role of the United Nations in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. Attainment of those goals required a comprehensive approach. A leading role in post-conflict situations should be played by the Economic and Social Council and other organizations. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was a cross cutting issue. Establishment of follow-up missions by the Security Council was justified. Precisely defining tasks in the mandates was, however, of the utmost important.
The effectiveness of United Nations efforts in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration depended on the support of the direct parties, he said. Attempts to use force in that process, more often than not, did not work, as had been seen in Somalia. The best way to ensure a legal basis for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was to include appropriate provisions in peace agreements. An important factor in the success of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was learning from past experience, including negative experience, he stressed.
Women and children ex-combatants should be a subject of study during the training of peacekeepers, he said. Carrying out the tasks under discussion meant costly projects. The involvement of the World Bank would be necessary. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were linked with the spread of small arms. Intensifying efforts against the illegal spread of weapons was important, as was enhancing the effectiveness of the Security Council.
NANCY SODERBERG (United States) said that the importance of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was far too often overlooked. When peace agreements were reached, it was essential to promote the transition of war-torn societies from conflict to normalcy and a return to development. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants into the fabric of civil society was key to that transition. The ability of future peacekeeping operations to advance that process could be enhanced by including explicit reference to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes in peace agreements, ensuring adequate technical and financial support for such activities in all operations, and improving institutional coordination among the bodies of the international community that addressed those needs.
The Council had to underscore that successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities depended upon the political will of the parties involved to commit themselves to peace, she said. The international community could support the process, but it could not provide the will required to bring it to a successful conclusion. Surplus small arms in post-conflict situations all too often fuelled renewed fighting and banditry. Effective disposal of small arms, light weapons and ammunition must be part of any peace process. In addition, the Council must be prepared to consider measures to limit the flow of small arms and other weapons into disarmament, demobilization and reintegration zones, including sanctions, if necessary and appropriate.
The goal of demobilization activities was to remove ex-combatants from military organizations and structures as quickly as possible, she said. To advance that goal, sufficient resources and political support should be provided for peacekeeping operations. Reintegration work was distinct from traditional peacekeeping activities of disarmament and demobilization. The latter activities were under the purview of the Security Council. Reintegration, however, must be viewed as a post-conflict peace-building or development activity.
There could be problems in identifying adequate funding for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities, with the implosion of societies occurring in todays conflicts, and it was critical that the right balance between assessed and voluntary funding to address that issue was found, she said. Child soldiers during all phases of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration had special needs, as did girl soldiers. The special needs of women ex-combatants were often overlooked. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration plans should seek to assist women and girls that had suffered sexual abuse, had been forced to participate in violence, or had had to bear children for their victimizers and might risk rejection by their communities, she said. Womens involvement as leaders, mediators and teachers could have a critical impact on the success of reintegration efforts.
LUIS ENRIQUE CAPPAGLI (Argentina) said that, eight months ago, profound concern about continuing armed conflict despite peace agreements had been expressed. That concern still existed. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration could not be seen as isolated elements. Without doubt, the basis for that process was the political resolve of the parties concerned with the assistance of the international community. That would facilitate contributions in the shape of experts and resources. Disarmament might benefit by measures from Member States to combat trafficking in arms. It was also important that the process of disarmament be completed as soon as possible. The needs of children in conflict areas had to be addressed, he said. Their rights should be an explicit priority. The proper coordination among the various actors and an ample supply of resources were indispensable in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. In the context of peacekeeping, that process represented the first step towards preventing recurrence of conflict. While the challenge was immense, the task was so important that everything must be done to help people to break out of the cycle of violence.
SELMA NDEYAPO ASHIPALA-MUSAVYI (Namibia) said the subject under discussion today was an indispensable part of peacekeeping and peace-building. Conflict- stricken countries in Africa, in particular, could not emerge from the protracted civil conflict without the generous assistance of the international community in laying the foundations for durable peace and recovery and avoiding a relapse into conflict. But the parties must be willing and committed to disarm. Where the causes of a conflict had external dimensions, pressure must be brought to bear by all for the parties to disarm. Faction and rebel leaders should be held accountable for the disarmament and demobilization of their combatants.
Rehabilitation and detraumatization of victims of the conflict, especially child soldiers, had been rightly emphasized in the report, she continued. It would be of enormous assistance if the situation of children and child soldiers were taken into serious consideration and addressed from the very beginning, as well as in the negotiation of peace agreements. She highly welcomed the inclusion of a child protection adviser in United Nations operations in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Equally, women should be involved in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes, as women were affected in a special way by conflict and more often left to fend for themselves. International assistance was crucial in demining operations, reconstitution of State structures and restoration of industrial and agricultural production.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration had to be part of the overall effort to make a peace process a success. It provided a link between the cessation of hostilities and sustainable peace by incorporating political, security, economic and social objectives into the process. It was a holistic process involving many actors and requiring the full cooperation of society. It was, therefore, important that all parties to the conflict be made fully aware of the process and have the political will to undertake it.
Effective disarmament of ex-combatants was an important indicator of progress towards post-conflict peace-building and normalization of a conflict situation. Demobilization was only possible when there was some level of disarmament, and its success could only be achieved when there was effective rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants into society. The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers was equally important. Governments could be held accountable for the use of children as soldiers, but it was often difficult to induce change in rebel groups and to have them admit to the use of children.
Education and training of peacekeepers on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were important elements for the successful implementation of those activities. That training should have the support of as many Member States as possible, he said. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration had become an important, indeed, indispensable component of all contemporary peacekeeping operations and should be addressed by the Council on an ongoing basis.
ALISTAIR HARRISON (United Kingdom) said the representative of Portugal, on behalf of the European Union, would make a statement to the Council that comprehensively reflected his countrys views on the subject. From the United Kingdoms recent experience with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in Sierra Leone had come the important lesson of adequate resources -- such programmes should be placed on a firmer financial footing. The World Bank had tried to persuade donors to contribute to Sierra Leone and, unless those were received, the key activities of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in Sierra Leone would not be carried out.
He said that insufficient resources in that regard would jeopardize not only the success of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), but of the peace process as a whole. Sufficient funding for programmes of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration must be ensured. The Secretary-General might explore a range of possible financing options with interested Member States and the World Bank and others, and make further recommendations. Proper coordination of all of the players involved in such programmes was crucial, as they had invariably involved a number of actors. In Sierra Leone, the lack of effective coordination had resulted in confusion, delays and misunderstandings. The provision of a coordinated framework, wherever possible, should be encouraged.
SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) said the renewed consideration of the matter by the Council in the context of its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security attested to the interest and concern that the body rightly felt for the threefold process. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was now a key dimension in peacekeeping. The process had contributed to building confidence, stabilizing post-conflict situations, and easing the transition of societies towards normal development. The process had definitely helped lay the basis for peace and stability. The international community had had considerable experience in that process in the context of United Nations peacekeeping operations, in the course of the last decade. Many lessons could be applied, refined and cemented.
He said that provisions for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration should be systematically included in any peace agreement. That would help to ensure that the agreement contained a number of parameters for the success of the process, which also required the political commitment of the parties. Given the complementary nature of the process, coordination by the United Nations should receive constant attention. Substantive and sustained support of the international community in the form of requisite skills and financial resources was necessary. The international community should also pay sustained attention to the question of child soldiers, whose recruitment had become a widespread and tragic phenomenon.
ALPHONS HAMER (Netherlands ) said that the most important problem mentioned in the report was that of child soldiers and girl soldiers. In that aspect and others, his Government aligned itself with Portugals statement on behalf of the European Union.
He limited his comments to the subjects of confidence building and commitment in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. Peacekeeping operations were in themselves a source of confidence building. A degree of political stability was necessary in the disarmament phase. It was, however, of vital importance that all parties should be targeted by disarmament efforts and that weapons must be destroyed. Neighbouring countries might have to be involved in that process, which could prevent arms-trafficking across national borders.
Commitment was an all-important condition for the peace process, he said. Ex-combatants should be committed to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. Actual involvement of ex-combatants in such programmes would have a positive impact. Full information on the programme would contribute to a sense of commitment. The international community had to provide for generous financial support. In the Councils presidential statement on small arms, a manual had been requested on ecologically safe ways and methods of weapons destruction. This was an important endeavour, and the Netherlands would make a substantial contribution towards it.
CURTIS WARD (Jamaica) said that with conducive conditions, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes could effectively achieve their objectives for effective post-conflict peace-building. The United Nations could be proud of its successes in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique and, more recently, in the Central African Republic. Those cases clearly demonstrated the capacity of the United Nations to achieve effective reintegration of ex-combatants when appropriate steps were taken to include clear and well defined disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes in peacekeeping operations.
To expand that record of successes, a number of crucial elements must be taken into account, he said. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration must be seen as an integrated process and addressed comprehensively. Adequate political, financial and material support for each phase of the process was essential to ensure a peaceful transition. Strong political will was indispensable to the process. The critical and complex task of rehabilitation and reconstruction should be an inclusive process involving the civilian population, non-governmental organizations, regional bodies, international financial institutions and private businesses.
He said that among the most important criteria for the success of any disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process was the need to ensure that peacekeeping operations continued to be clearly defined and that the impartiality, legitimacy, political momentum and resources they provided to the process were fully sustained. A clear definition of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration tasks must be included within peace agreements, and the Security Council must monitor the programmes.
Adequate and timely funding for the process was critical to ensure success, he said. He supported the provision of funding from within the assessed budget of a peacekeeping operation. A major element of any reintegration process should be providing appropriate services for the security, health, education and psychological treatment of disarmed child soldiers, as well as refugees and other displaced persons. Jamaica also supported an enhanced role of the Security Council in curbing the illicit flow of arms through the imposition of arms embargoes, he added.
MOCTAR OUANE (Mali) said that the establishment of an environment of trust in a country emerging from armed conflict was a prerequisite to lasting peace. In that regard, defining an overall framework of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, accompanied by a time table and technical and financial means of implementation, was essential. The central role of the United Nations in all phases of the process would guarantee success, but in order for it to be effective, the process must be part of an overall agreement by the parties. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration should be a component of all peacekeeping operations. Likewise, if United Nations activity was to yield tangible results, skills in the area of demobilization and adequate financing should be mobilized at all stages of the process. Coordination of all such activities was vital.
Similarly, he went on, the experience acquired in former and current peacekeeping operations should serve as a catalyst. With regard to regional cooperation, regional initiatives were essential in the areas of arms trafficking, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. An example was the moratorium agreed on by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The reintegration of former combatants into civil society had deserved special attention. Consolidating that process meant assessing their financial needs; education and resettlement were also vital elements. In Mali, preventive diplomacy had been very successful for the settlement of the conflict which had beset the northern part of the country in the early 1990s. Preventive diplomacy had involved the reintegration of former combatants into the armed and security forces of Mali .
PASCAL TEIXEIRA DA SILVA (France) aligned himself with the statement to be made by Portugal. Everyone agreed, he said, that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were indispensable components in conflict settlement. The process could only work in the long term if disarmament and demobilization resulted from an agreement with all belligerents. An absence of parity in the process risked serious consequences.
Reintegration was the most important part of the process, he said. In that light, causes and symptoms should not be mixed. Taking up arms was a symptom, and underlying problems that caused combatants to do so should be addressed. Guarantees had to be given to ex-combatants that they would have security and equitable participation in political life. The international community must demonstrate its commitment to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. The determination of parties to honour their commitment depended on it.
When a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process was necessary, provisions in a missions mandate must be made, he said. There must
be better coordination on the ground between all actors and the process must share responsibilities among them. He said that lack of financial resources and funding were all too often the cause of failure of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. It was regrettable that the process depended on voluntary contributions, which were unpredictable. The proposal from the Secretary-General to budget seed money for quick impact projects deserved support. He concluded by expressing his support for the presidential statement and hoped that the principles of the recommendations would be implemented each time the Council dealt with such subjects.
ROBERT FOWLER (Canada) thanked the Secretary-General for his vigorous efforts in producing the analysis, which would go a long way towards helping members understand that crucial aspect of peace-building. The report provided a comprehensive picture of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, which was of great concern to his country. In particular, he had appreciated the frankness with which the report had acknowledged the shortcomings, past and present. The Secretary-General had turned those weaknesses into lessons that could be used by the Council in its work in post- conflict situations. He eagerly awaited future proposals on the subject and asked the Secretary-General to keep Council members informed of future lessons learned.
He said his country had long worked to make the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration an accepted part of the language of peace- building. The ground had been broken in integrating the process into peacekeepers work. Particular emphasis should be placed in instilling the lessons learned into peacekeeping training. Thankfully, as the report had indicated, such training had become an essential part of peace training, and related provisions critical to ensuring human security would be included in peace agreements. Also welcome had been the recent inclusion in missions of personnel dedicated to children, gender-related concerns, and human rights. He fully supported the Secretary-Generals view of the need to integrate elements of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration from the inception of peace agreements. Coordination was also important. The reports conclusion of the vital need to include that multi-dimensional approach to peace building also had his support.
Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration must be part of a network of activities that gave everyone a stake in the continued stability of their country, he said. The Council must be prepared to act quickly. Swift and substantive United Nations peacekeeping action would lend credibility to the Organizations own effort and to national initiatives. In order to include such a component in peace mandates, the Council must show a genuine will to build the capacity for rapid and adequate deployment. The need for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration had been felt most keenly in peace-building processes built on the tenuous trust of weary combatants, which had presented an ephemeral opportunity that offered few second chances. We must get it right the first time, he said.
VOLODYMYR YU. YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said that the relative decline in the frequency of inter-State armed conflict in the post-cold-war era had caused the United Nations to focus more on the numerous internal conflicts. As a result, the evolution of United Nations peacekeeping had given birth to a new set of operations with multi-functional mandates to facilitate war-torn societies in moving from violent conflict towards reconciliation, economic reconstruction and democratic development.
The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants was one of the most vital elements of ensuring the advancement of the whole peace process in conflict-riven societies. Those efforts bore a direct relation to every sensitive human aspect of the peace process, embracing the former combatants and the entire affected population. The parties to a conflict had to shoulder the primary responsibility for the implementation of those programmes, he said.
The basis for a successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme should be laid within the peace agreement, he said, quoting the report. He added that, had such provisions been concluded upon by the parties in the Kosovo conflict, the results of the current peace process as a whole and the demobilization of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), in particular, could have been far more satisfactory by now. He remained gravely concerned about the impact of armed conflicts on children and agreed with the evaluations and proposals made in the report on the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers, he added.
In the context of disarmament, he supported the idea of the establishment by troop-contributing countries of a database of experts on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. On the subject of the illicit arms flows, he reminded the Council of Ukraines initiative to convene an international experts meeting of major arms-producing countries with a view to elaborating an effective mechanism to prevent the reselling of arms from the end users to third parties. The United Nations had the primary role as coordinator and originator of guidelines for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, which could also be complemented by the efforts of regional organizations, he said.
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), Security Council President, speaking in his national capacity, said that United Nations peacekeeping operations were increasingly being mandated to facilitate the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. He agreed with the Secretary-General on the ways those operations could support and strengthen the process. Peace agreements should specify the responsibilities of the parties involved in the process and establish a broad strategy and time frame. He agreed with the Secretary-General that where a United Nations peacekeeping role was envisioned, the United Nations should be represented in peace negotiations.
A second prerequisite for a successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process was the need to curb arms flow in a post-conflict situation, he continued. The international community should ensure that while the parties involved were talking peace, they were not preparing to resume war. United Nations peacekeeping operations could ensure a successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process by facilitating: the safety and security of the proposed sites; the collection and disposal of weapons and ammunition; demining activities; the creation of an environment of confidence and trust; the reconstruction of war-affected infrastructure; and the prevention of violations of peace agreements. Resources provided to peacekeeping operations must match their mandates, and innovative ways to address the question of financing had to be taken up. There was also a need for greater harmonization and coordination with agencies and other organizations so that reintegration efforts could be addressed in a comprehensive manner.
He cited his countrys successful experience with the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts peace agreement, which provided autonomy to the region in south-east Bangladesh, mandated resettlement plans, addressed the question of land reform, ensured financing for development programmes that created livelihoods and jobs for ex-combatants and guaranteed the security of those who laid down their arms. The successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process had enabled the region to experience economic and social development.
In conclusion, he said it was encouraging that the special needs of child soldiers and war-affected children were being recognized by the Council, and that institutional mechanisms were being arranged within peacekeeping operations to address those needs. However, the needs of women ex-combatants had not been addressed with the urgency they deserved.
ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), said that the debate about post-conflict peace-building, in general, and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration aspects, in particular, was timely and useful. The concept of peacekeeping had evolved and changed in recent years. The scope of operations had been expanded and encompassed new aspects. The reasons for that change were the changed nature of conflicts. For the past 10 years, most conflicts had been internal and inter- ethnic. Such conflicts could no longer be allowed to occur with impunity. The mandate of United Nations forces had to be broader and more complex. It had to eliminate the factors that might lead to resumption of violence and must, therefore, include post-conflict peace-building elements.
Internal conflicts involved not only internal actors, but also those in the vicinity of the country where the conflict occurred, he said. The reluctance of some countries to participate in peacekeeping operations, for instance, in Africa, had led to greater involvement of regional organizations, he said. The future conduct of peacekeeping operations and the future of peacekeeping efforts were well analysed in the report. The post-conflict stage transcended the narrow framework of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. It also entailed solutions to the problems that had caused the conflict. It was, therefore, a long-term task and needed constant support from the international community.
A resumption of economic activities, as well as of electoral and political activities, was necessary, and those could only work if the internal and regional climate were conducive, he said. National reconciliation based on power-sharing was important, and neighbouring States had to give supports. Disarmament of ex-combatants was often difficult because of a lack of trust and real will of belligerent leaders, he said.
The disarmament programme in Angola had actually caused the recurrence of hostilities there, he said. The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) had actually used the peace process to build up its military capacity, while the arms it had handed over had often been old and obsolete. On the other hand, positive experiences had been seen in Mozambique, for instance, where the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process had been successful. In Kosovo, the determination shown by the international community and the resources it had provided might help that region to return to normalcy. He hoped that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a similar determination would be shown.
The implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes, particularly in Africa, was dependent on finances, he said. It was, therefore, regrettable that the financing of those programmes depended on special trust funds and international appeals. The reintegration component needed great attention and should be financed from United Nations missions resources. Trust funds should be supplementary, and mobilization of financial and technical resources from other organizations, in particular from the World Bank, should be encouraged in order to provide ongoing support.
DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa) said todays topic of discussion deserved the Councils undivided attention for a number of reasons. First, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants in the aftermath of conflict was increasingly placing more demands and challenges on peacekeeping and making it imperative that the role and scope of contemporary United Nations peacekeeping operations be redefined. Peacekeeping without the inclusion of those elements, where appropriate, would render it moribund in relation to the actual challenges on the ground.
Second, he continued, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were proving to be important and necessary elements in stabilizing post-conflict situations and in preventing the recurrence of conflict at both the intra-State and regional levels. Third, those elements provided an important bridge in the transition from cessation of hostilities to sustainable peace by incorporating political, security, economic and social objectives. Efforts should focus on ensuring that there were clearly defined mandates with adequate resources where disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes were to be undertaken in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
The difficult decision made by former combatants to lay down their arms, as well as the vulnerable situation they placed themselves in, should always be borne in mind. They were often viewed as traitors and could become victims of their former brothers in arms as they awaited integration while in encampment areas. The mammoth task of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration could no longer be faced by the United Nations without the help of others, he said. He called for the inclusion of non-United Nations institutions in the implementation of such programmes.
ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, urged the Council to take appropriate follow-up action to the Secretary-General's recommendations. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes must be effectively integrated into multidisciplinary peacekeeping operations. Such programmes provided a window of opportunity to advance the peace process - a window that might close if the international community did not swiftly and adequately provide political support and financial resources.
The Union fully endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendations on child soldiers and welcomed the inclusion in all relevant operations, of personnel with appropriate training in international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, including child- and gender-related provisions. It also shared the Secretary-General's recommendation that a holistic and long-term view must be taken of the demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers, including the social and economic aspects of the problem.
He stressed the need for a long-term perspective on how the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process was to be carried out. Effective coordination was essential. The Union looked forward to seeing the results of the work of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations' Lessons Learned Unit on the elaboration of the principles and guidelines of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
On disarmament, the European Union was undertaking specific actions, through financial and technical assistance, to programmes and projects related to the small arms problem, notably in Albania, Cambodia and Mozambique, and was considering similar ones in other areas. It was also providing assistance to the ECOWAS small arms moratorium programme which sought to prevent the illicit manufacture and trade of small arms, as well as to ensure that those weapons were collected and put out of use.
He said a valuable tool in that area was the guidelines adopted by the United Nations Disarmament Commission in April 1999 on conventional arms control/limitation and disarmament, with particular emphasis on consolidation of peace. The guidelines contained specific recommendations for the collection, control, disposal and destruction of arms, especially small arms and light weapons and conversion of military facilities. The guidelines should be drawn upon in the design of mandates for future United Nations peacekeeping or preventive operations, he said, adding that the Union also acknowledged the importance of the recommendations of the United Nations Panel of Government Experts on Small Arms.
The European Union agreed with the Secretary-General that demobilization and reintegration programmes should be placed on a firmer financial footing and that provision should also be made for special measures for child soldiers. It invited the Secretary-General to explore with, among others, Member States and the World Bank, a range of possible options and to make further detailed recommendations on the subject. The activities of United Nations peacekeeping operations in institution building, elections, human rights and the judicial system, including police, were vital. Also essential was coordination within the Secretariat and with relevant agencies within and outside the system, including bilateral programmes and non-governmental organizations. The consolidation of the Special Representative's authority over all United Nations entities should be strengthened by the appointment of the Resident Coordinator as deputy to the Head of Mission.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said a comprehensive approach to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was necessary to prevent a recurrence of violence, particularly in internal conflicts. Through its incorporation of political, security, economic and social objectives, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration provided a bridge from the cessation of hostilities to sustainable peace. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration should not only focus on short-term demobilization programmes, he said, but should also be an integral part of the longer-term process of reconciling formerly hostile communities and reintegrating ex-combatants, with a special emphasis on child soldiers and other vulnerable groups. To avoid a situation where ex-combatants who complied with United Nations requests were punished, security of disarmed soldiers should be an integral part of any disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme.
There should be proper safeguarding or destruction of post-conflict stockpiles of small arms and light weapons. Norway lent support to individual States, regional and multilateral organizations requiring assistance with weapons collections and destruction programmes, he said, mentioning, in particular, his countrys support to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Trust Fund for Weapons that provided development assistance in exchange for arms surrendered. Inadequate financial support for disarmament activities could undermine peace implementation efforts. Norway would continue to provide a high level of voluntary contributions to the activities of the United Nations system in that field. Norway intended to further increase its assistance to peace-building efforts in Sierra Leone and elsewhere, particularly in Africa. He commended the United Nations and the Government of Mozambique for the successful efforts in that country.
HIDEAKI KOBAYASHI (Japan) said the international community must ensure a well-planned, coordinated and reliable mechanism to secure cooperation of ex-combatants in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. Coordination must be improved at three levels, namely, within the United Nations Secretariat, between the United Nations and related organizations -- including the Bretton Woods institutions -- and in the field. He also stressed that the position of Special Representative should be filled by a highly qualified and capable person with sufficient authority to effectively carry out that role.
His delegation shared the Secretary-General's view that attention should be paid to the issue of child soldiers throughout the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. It welcomed the recent appointment of child protection advisers to the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Sierra Leone and to the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His delegation encouraged the Secretary-General to review other missions to determine where the appointment of similar advisers might be necessary.
He said Japan had contributed $960,000 to the Trust Fund to Support United Nations Peacekeeping-Related Efforts in Sierra Leone to be used exclusively for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. Although the Trust Fund formula had proved to be useful, providing the necessary resources from the assessed budget would enhance an operation's financial stability. Japan, which was responsible for 20 per cent of the assessed budget of all peacekeeping operations, was willing to consider the Secretary-General's proposal on how disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities in peacekeeping operations should be financed.
Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6830 4118th Meeting (AM & PM) 23 March 2000
The meeting was suspended at 1:17 p.m. and resumed at 3:16 p.m.
MICHAEL POWLES (New Zealand) said that while no two post-conflict peace- building situations were the same, there were some key principles that had general application and deserved greater recognition. Timeliness of response was at the top of that list. Citing the reasonably timely manner of a security and humanitarian response in the case of East Timor, he said there had been an urgent need to re-establish a basic civil administration, legal system, and the foundation for a functioning economy. Bureaucratic procedures, such as those used for recruitment for the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), seemed to underlie some of the unfortunate delays. While it would not be realistic to expect the international community to rebuild East Timors shattered economy overnight, we have already seen many signs of the social stresses inevitable in the period before employment-generating projects get under way, he said
One practical area which New Zealand believed required more attention related to the provision of civilian police, he continued. The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process could be fatally impaired if sufficient numbers of civilian police could not be deployed rapidly. Options for improving the availability of police to the United Nations needed to be urgently explored. Identifying appropriate post-conflict roles for former combatants was another challenging task in peace-building. His countrys experience in East Timor and Bougainville had demonstrated the importance of the early involvement of the local population in the reconstruction process. Community development could be instrumental in providing an atmosphere in which hostile factions could work together. He particularly endorsed the Secretary-Generals recommendations regarding the dreadful use of child soldiers. He also emphasized the need to address the specific situation of girl soldiers.
JARGALSAIKHANY ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia) agreed that an effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process was instrumental in building lasting peace and security in post-conflict societies. The Secretary- Generals recommendations were crucial for identifying the appropriate principles and guidelines for that process in a peacekeeping environment. He stressed the importance of disarmament and demobilization of ex-combatants, as well as the social integration of political rivals in a post-war society on the basis of their good will and mutual confidence. Those short-term measures needed to be followed up by long-term programmes and strategies to strengthen national institutions, good governance and civil society, as well as to promote democracy and human rights, eradicate poverty and ensure sustainable development.
Furthermore, he continued, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration should form an interrelated and integrated programme within the mandate of a specific peacekeeping mission, which should be supported by sufficient financial and human resources. The international community and regional organizations should address the problems of various post-conflict groups on the basis of new power-sharing or other agreed arrangements. He urged the international community to make the forthcoming United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (June/July 2001) a success. Finally, noting that there were about 300,000 children under 18 involved in armed conflicts around the world, he strongly endorsed the Secretary-Generals proposal that the question of child soldiers demobilization and reintegration be fully included in overall peace-building programmes. IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said his country had hosted five United Nations peacekeeping operations in the last nine years, including the successful United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES). Three lessons had been learned from that mission: the disarmament model; follow-up security assistance and political missions; and national strategy and policy measures regarding rehabilitation and reintegration of former combatants.
Critical to the orderly implementation of the civilian timetable of reintegration was the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, he said. The process had been launched early in the operation and had been completed in parallel with an innovative scheme of weapons buy-back. The programme, jointly conducted by the Croatian Government and UNTAES, had lasted about 10 months during which about 10,000 firearms were collected.
The importance of economic and social policy measures to speeding up reconciliation and the overall post-conflict recovery could not be over- emphasized, he said. Reintegration of ex-combatants had been carried out in several ways in Croatia, including the adoption of an amnesty law that exonerated former rebels, except those who had committed war crimes.
He said the measures had been a burden on the national economy. The new Croatian Government, which had also recently mounted a major refugee return programme, had recognized the challenges of practical implementation of a comprehensive reintegration policy. It had appealed for international assistance, while emphasizing the potential within the private sector and direct business-to-business cooperation.
Although not emphasized in the Secretary-General's report, he said Croatia continued to hold that reconciliation constituted a cornerstone in successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. Establishing truth about what had happened during a conflict, particularly about responsibility for war crimes, was critical to societal healing and reconciliation. Reintegration of former combatants could not be achieved without that element of justice.
Croatia was well aware of its responsibilities and obligations in that regard, he said. It was its intention to fully implement a policy of responsible cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. For the sake of justice, the historical record, reconciliation and peace and stability in the area, he said it was vital that the Security Council use all its powers and influence to bring all the indicted, including those from Republika Srpska and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to trial.
JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said that, as a former member of the Security Council, his delegation had contributed to previous deliberations on the subject and had welcomed the outcome of those discussions. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were important aspects of stabilization and of the reduction of recurrent violence. The process had also contributed towards moving a society from conflict to normalcy. Thus, it was very important to include such provisions in all peace agreements. Those should specify the responsibilities of national and other competent authorities and define the measures that should be taken. In addition, a strategy and timetable also had to be determined. He said that in order for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration to succeed, certain elements needed to be emphasized. For example, the parties to the conflict should be provided with precise information regarding the staffing and location for such programmes. Information should also be made available about the location of arms stocks. The United Nations needed to lend the necessary political support to encourage the negotiators to take the very difficult, but necessary, measures. Moreover, the former combatants must be assured of their security during the disarmament phase. The necessary resources also had to be provided, with a view to the full implementation of the peace agreement.
Continuing, he said that illicit arms flows needed to be halted, and all parties needed to be convinced that a resumption of warfare would be in vain. Civil society had to accept the reintegration of ex-combatants, including their need for employment, following their rehabilitation. International efforts should be undertaken to promote disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. While most of the aspects of the process were clear, certain questions deserved closer examination, such as the deployment of United Nations personnel to neighbouring countries to ensure and supervise regional arms flows. At the same time, their deployment should not impinge on the sovereignty of nations or interfere in country affairs. There was an inextricable link between the maintenance and consolidation of peace. In that respect, cooperation should be ensured between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.
BERND NIEHAUS(Costa Rica) said the normalization of human and international relations after an armed conflict required a sustained effort. The temptation to use weapons remained latent in post-conflict situations unless disarmament, demobilization and reintegration took place. In Central America, the importance of that process had been witnessed firsthand. Guatemala and El Salvador had been success stories. But Central America had also witnessed failures. An overabundant supply of weapons at the end of conflicts had caused violence and destruction in neighbouring countries.
The stockpiling of weapons was a true obstacle for peace, and he called, therefore, for the destruction of those weapons. He supported the International Code of Conduct for the Transfer of Weapons, prepared by the former President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez, a draft of which had been distributed as document S/2000/146. While peace operations could make valuable contributions to the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, the governments and groups involved in conflicts had to bear the primary responsibility. They had to commit to demobilizing their military contingents, which would promote stability and strengthen trust.
It was alarming that 300,000 children under the age of 18 were involved in armed conflict, he said. Recruitment of children under the age of 18 was unacceptable. All governments needed to demobilize those minors immediately and actively promote the integration of boys and girls who had been demobilized and offer them psychological help.
The economic aspect could not be ignored. Reintegration required opportunities for employment. Extreme poverty was often a source for hatred and violence. "Without equality, solidarity and justice, there could not exist true peace", he said.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said that the fact that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were now discussed showed how far peacekeeping had evolved. Indeed, United Nations peacekeepers had been deployed in such a variety of roles that the use of the term peacekeeping might not longer be adequate. Peacekeeping operations had traditionally been launched under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter, sometimes under Chapter VII, or in between. It might be useful to assess the criteria for creating peacekeeping operations under Chapters VI and VII.
He said that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were inherently difficult and dangerous operations. For most people who had been carrying guns for years, guns had become an essential part of their existence. Many feel naked without them, he said. They would not part from their guns easily. One example of that could be found in Sierra Leone. A successful example of disarmament was Mozambique, he said.
In the report, there was common sensical advice on the key factors that could lead to success in disarmament and demobilization, such as the political will of parties to the conflict to abide by the peace agreement, full cooperation of the whole affected population, and a clear and robust mandate for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in the peacekeeping operation, among others. The success of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration depended on the overall conceptual soundness and viability of the peacekeeping operation that was launched. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration on its own could not be the crucial variable to determine the operations success.
Most peacekeeping operations were not launched under perfect circumstances, he said. They were inevitably launched in messy and often difficult situations. Given those obvious difficulties, it made it even more imperative for the Council to identify the critical factors that would create success stories. Therefore, he applauded the greater attention the Council was paying to many key dimensions of peacekeeping operations, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and the attention to the demobilization of child soldiers. He hoped that the Secretariat and other United Nations agencies would provide greater support to the office of Under-Secretary-General Olara Otunnu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) highlighted the important role of the Council in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. Clearly, based on the present debate, there were two essential prerequisites for the success of such programmes. On the one hand, the conditions for the process must be outlined in the peace accords signed by the parties to the conflicts. On the other hand, the necessary financial means must be ensured. Those were essential elements, although not sufficient to ensure success. The signing of a peace accord which ended an armed conflict deserved broad international support. At the same time, the peace-building stage was much more difficult, but tended not to make headlines. Hence, there was a risk of losing the original international support for peace. When that initial support disappeared or when the international community was slow to react, the risk of recurring conflict was heightened.
He said that the United Nations, therefore, should be given effective tools to provide uninterrupted support to the post-conflict activities of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. Peacekeeping missions were important instruments in that regard, but the true causes of the conflicts, often requiring a long-term response, should not be ignored. One area of grave concern for his country had been the considerable availability of weapons and their illicit trafficking, about which the international community had grown keenly aware. The forthcoming conference on the illicit arms trade would provide a great opportunity to respond to that destabilizing factor.
The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes required greater trust among the parties, he said. Post-conflict reintegration, in particular, called for economic rehabilitation or the establishment of new governmental institutions. In those cases, modalities used for development purposes could be employed. Indeed, the work carried out by United Nations bodies in the reintegration process could be supported by the growing participation of the World Bank. Considerable investment was required to generate employment, rebuild the social fabric and establish new institutions. The calamities caused by war had worsened the living conditions of millions of people worldwide. It must be ensured that the indifference of the international community did not set back the cause of peace.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said that his country could not absent itself from a debate on the role of the Security Council and United Nations peacekeeping operations, because his country offered a success story in that regard. The report was lucid and highlighted some of the issues that were part of his countrys own experiences. The three elements of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration had received separate but interrelated treatment in the Guatemalan peace accord, and he was happy to report that there had been considerable progress.
One aspect of the "real life experience" was the way domestic actors had interacted with the international community, he said. The presence of the international community had been noted during the negotiation of the peace accord, as well as its implication. The domestic actors were, however, in the driver's seat. Those actors not only included the combating parties, but also civil society as a whole. Thanks to its neutrality and impartiality, the United Nations had gotten respect during that period.
Activities of post-conflict peace-building were intimately tied to the development effort, he continued. Economic and social matters were tied to the accord. All parties had understood that for a successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, the economic environment must be favourable.
MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said that the report had rightly focused on the complexities of the interrelated issues involved and the role of peacekeeping in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. International assistance in ensuring the effective implementation of the agreements reached and the marshalling of resources needed to advance the peace process was crucial. But first and foremost, success depended ultimately on the willingness of the parties involved to abide by the terms of the peace agreements, and to give up the use of force.
Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities should pay special attention to the child soldiers, he said. Their rights as stipulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child should, at the conclusion of the conflict, be immediately restored, protected and promoted. Their reintegration into their family and society was crucial. School education for them should be given first priority, he said.
Curbing the flow of arms across national borders through clandestine means after disarmament was another important issue, he said. Determined and coordinated efforts at the national, regional and international levels could stem cross-border flow of weapons.
The question of adequate financing needed to be addressed to ensure the implementation of programmes for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. That called for the distribution of financial assistance on a fair and equitable basis between the ex-combatants and the civilian population, many of whom also faced extreme economic hardship.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were an expansion of the mandate that the Security Council had given to peace operations. He underlined that each operation required the agreement of the parties involved in the conflict. That agreement should reflect the will to proceed with the activities of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
In cases when the Security Council gave peacekeeping operations special mandates, he said, it should make sure that there were adequate resources, in particular, for activities concerning the disarmament of ex-combatants. In that regard, he referred to the failure in Angola, where the inability to provide sufficient human and material resources during the disarmament process had led to the breakdown of the peace process.
He recognized the danger emanating from small arms used in armed conflict, but thought that the General Assembly should tackle that problem. Coordination between all United Nations bodies and agencies was important. Non-governmental organizations also played a great role in the process, but he emphasized that they had to abide by the agreements with the countries concerned.
Turning to the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said that armed groups in East Congo that were not a party to the Lusaka agreement were a source of destabilization. The United Nations could not send a complete peacekeeping operation without a wide programme to disarm those groups. He hoped that the Joint Military Committee and the OAU, in cooperation with the United Nations, could set up a plan in the near future that would pave the way to implement the military aspects of the agreement.
He said that the operation in Sierra Leone, the largest operation in the world once fully deployed, could be a clear example of the pivotal role the international community could play in implementing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, particularly of child soldiers. He called upon all parties to participate in the disarmament and demobilization of combatants and hoped that donor countries would provide the financial resources necessary.
* *** *