SPEAKERS IN FOURTH COMMITTEE VOICE CONCERN OVER SEXUAL ABUSE, EXPLOITATION BY UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS, SUPPORT FOR ‘ZERO-TOLERANCE’ POLICY
SPEAKERS IN FOURTH COMMITTEE VOICE CONCERN OVER SEXUAL ABUSE, EXPLOITATION BY UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS, SUPPORT FOR ‘ZERO-TOLERANCE’ POLICY
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-first General Assembly
16th Meeting (AM)
SPEAKERS IN FOURTH COMMITTEE VOICE CONCERN OVER SEXUAL ABUSE, EXPLOITATION
BY UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS, SUPPORT FOR ‘ZERO-TOLERANCE’ POLICY
Drawing Down Peacekeeping Missions, Creating New Peacekeeping
Doctrine, Clarifying Peacekeeping, Peacebuilding Tasks, Also Discussed
Many speakers in the Fourth Committee’s (Special Political and Decolonization) debate on peacekeeping operations today expressed concern about the sexual exploitation and abuse by some United Nations peacekeepers, which had tarnished the credibility of the United Nations, while also voicing support for the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Prince Zeid of Jordan, and the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy.
The representative of the United States said that earlier failure to address sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers had been “glaring”, however, strong committed leadership, followed by firm commitment by Member States, had led to many significant changes. That might now be a success story. Every Member State had a duty to investigate and prosecute any of their citizens involved in breaches of conduct and discipline. “We must follow through with our duty to protect those entrusted to us under the United Nations banner,” he insisted.
Several speakers lauded efforts to investigate allegations of abuse and to sensitize senior personnel. Still others in today’s exchange, such as the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said that the United Nations and countries participating in peacekeeping operations had not taken decisive measures to observe the principles of respect for sovereignty and human rights in the course of the operations. Abuses by peacekeeping personnel perpetrated against civilians were a violation of sovereignty and human rights. The crimes of human rights violations perpetrated by military personnel upon civilians had included sex slave crimes committed by the Japanese army, he said.
Calling for a new peacekeeping doctrine, the Nigerian representative said that such a doctrine should reflect a clear and concise compendium of policies, procedures and guidelines. The concepts and terminologies incorporated in it must be understood and agreed by all. “An ounce of prevention was worth a pound of intervention,” he said, adding that timely identification of the causes of conflict and implementation of preventive measures would reduce the number, and costs, of peacekeeping operations.
Addressing the issue of peacekeeping policy and doctrine, some representatives warned about blurring the line between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Fiji’s representative, for example, urged closer working relations between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Support Office, as peacekeeping and peacebuilding were complementary processes.
Attention was also drawn to the pace and timing of drawing down peacekeeping missions. The United States’ speaker said that recent events in Timor-Leste had taught that the roots of democracy, freedom and human rights must be given the proper amount of time and nurturing in order to grow strong. After the active phase of conflict had been brought under control, however, efforts must begin to distinguish between those remaining tasks appropriate for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and those more appropriately handled by other agencies. “We must also be willing to examine critically whether some of our current peacekeeping operations may actually be prolonging conflicts by not sufficiently forcing the parties to resolve their differences through political or diplomatic means,” he said.
Also addressing the lessons learned in Timor-Leste, Mongolia’s representative said that an exit strategy for peacekeeping operations should be a strategic priority. If peacekeeping operations continued to increase at the current pace without successful terminations of existing operations, the amount of human and financial resources needed would be enormous. The key for successful exit strategies was to ensure that conditions for a lasting peace were already in place at the time of an operation’s termination. Close coordination with the newly established Peacebuilding Commission was also of utmost importance.
Turning to the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel, Lebanon’s representative said that in 1992 and, again, in 1996, the centre of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had been bombarded by the Israelis and it had suffered losses. In 2006, four officers had lost their lives. The safety of UNIFIL was the responsibility of all countries concerned. She thanked the Secretariat for the manner in which peacekeeping operations were being conducted, and she thanked the troop-contributing countries for the speed of their response.
After a short procedural debate, in which the representatives of Pakistan and Iran participated, the Committee was informed that it would decide at a later date how to consider the report of the Group of Legal Experts on criminal acts committed in peacekeeping operations (document A/60/980).
The Committee again decided to defer consideration of two draft resolutions on outer space issues, until Monday, 30 October.
The representatives of China, Singapore, Cambodia, Kuwait, Jamaica, Indonesia, Malawi, Venezuela, Yemen, Albania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Georgia and Peru also participated in today’s debate. The representative of the Russian Federation spoke in right of reply.
The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 26 October, to take up the effects of atomic radiation, the University for Peace and the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. It was also expected to conclude its consideration of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space by taking action on two draft texts, namely “United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (SPIDER)” (document A/C.4/61/L.2/Rev.1) and “international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space” (document A/C.4/61/L.3/Rev.1). Those texts are summarized in Press Release GA/SPD/354 of 23 October.
Action on Outer Space Issues
GENEVIEVE POUQUET-EL CHAMI (France) said that, on Monday, her delegation had asked for deferment of the drafts. As there might be some changes of views on the draft, United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (document A/C.4/61/L.2/Rev.1), she asked for further deferment on both drafts, as the two texts were related.
The Committee then decided to defer consideration of both drafts until Monday, 30 October.
Statements on Peacekeeping Operations
LIU ZHENMIN (China), enumerating United Nations peacekeeping achievements in East Timor, Liberia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Sierra Leone, said peacekeeping operations had reached an unprecedented level in terms of scale, mandate, influence and attention. The rapid progress of peacekeeping operations and recognition from the international community, had produced opportunities and higher demands. It was important to remember that there was a gap between increasing demands and United Nations peacekeeping capacity. Programming, implementation and management could be improved. Further, peacekeeping operations should be coordinated, and existing mechanisms fully tapped.
In reforming peacekeeping operations, he said, it was pivotal to adhere to the United Nations Charter. Close cooperation with regional organizations was essential to help improve their peacekeeping capacity. The African Union was under increasing pressure in terms of logistics, technologies and funds, and China hoped the United Nations would reinforce assistance to the Organization. On ensuring the safety of peacekeepers, China hoped the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries would enhance information sharing, and explore ways to reduce risk through technology. Peacekeeping efforts should be fully coordinated with the Peacebuilding Commission to avoid overlapping and waste. Attention should also be given to the root causes of conflicts, as well as to economic development and capacity building. China hoped the Department of Peacekeeping Operations would offer recommendations on how to strengthen cooperation with the Peacekeeping Support Office. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China, to date, had sent more than 6,000 peacekeepers to 16 United Nations operations.
RAZIFF AJUNIED (Singapore), associating himself with the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had done well in managing the recent surge in peacekeeping operations and had succeeded in generating urgently needed resources. The complexities of peacekeeping demanded a more fundamental review of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ work, however. There must be wider agreement on specific areas to be reformed and the modalities thereto, which required a decision on priorities. Dialogue between the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries must intensify. As the Special Committee for Peacekeeping continued to meet formally only once a year, it might not be able to bring about serious reforms. An organization responsive to managing global operations “24/7” was also needed. The Department would require some form of internal capacity to conduct strategic thinking and future planning. It was time to explore increasing the number of military and police officers in the Department.
He said one of the reform targets should be to agree on and create a more predictable way to bring about a stronger partnership between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and regional groups. As peacekeeping was multidimensional and required a wide range of resources, including expertise in humanitarian services, judiciary training, security sector reform, developmental assistance and institution-building, an effective partnership with other institutions would allow the United Nations to assemble those capabilities. Peacekeepers and peacebuilders were inseparable partners. The various players and stakeholders should be assembled early to plan a mission and share information. Successful peacekeeping missions were those that had created an environment of sustained capacity-building for countries to stand on their own. Such missions were the result of strong leadership, systems integration and sustained support from the major stakeholders.
WIDHYA CHEM (Cambodia), aligning himself with Morocco’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the dramatic increase of peacekeeping operations from 47,883 uniformed personnel in 2001-2002, to 72,822 by July 2006 was a clear testament to the fact that the primary responsibility in maintaining international peace and security rested with the United Nations. Timely deployment, synergized coordination and the quality of cooperation would test the efficiency of international efforts. As a country that had witnessed unparalleled destruction over two long decades, Cambodia had rich experience in conflict resolution, national reconciliation and peacebuilding, which had finally led to strong economic growth.
In 2005, he said that Cambodia had changed its status from a net recipient to a contributor country for international peace and security, under the United Nations framework. Some 135 de-miners had been employed to date in the Sudan, and Cambodia was now in the process of sending its gendarmerie to Timor-Leste. Peacekeeping operations in the Sudan testified to the need for better coordination between the United Nations and regional organizations, such as the African Union, as the latter knew best a region’s specific needs. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was working towards establishing the ASEAN security community, and an ASEAN charter was being developed. Cambodia, as an ASEAN member, also looked forward to strengthening the United Nations.
ABDULLAH AL-MURAD (Kuwait), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said he welcomed the efforts to increase the efficiency of peacekeeping operations in the face of more and more complex peacekeeping operations. The operations were an essential tool for the maintenance of international peace and security and embodied the continued commitment of Member States to the collective maintenance of security. In order to strengthen the role of peacekeeping operations, there was a need for a clear definition of command tasks, as well as continued consultations between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries at all stages of peacekeeping operations. The role of the United Nations in early warning was also necessary, as was a comprehensive review of training needs. He welcomed the increased cooperation with regional organizations under Chapter VIII.
He said more efforts were needed to strengthen the standby arrangements and for rapid deployment capability. He fully supported the measures to implement the recommendations presented by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Prince Zeid of Jordan, concerning the sexual harassment and exploitation by some United Nations peacekeepers. Kuwait was grateful for the important task the United Nations had undertaken in the Kuwait-Iraq border demarcation, as called for by Security Council resolution 833 (1993). His country had paid its contributions to the budgets of peacekeeping operations, in full and on time, despite the fact that those contributions had increased five-fold. He hoped other Member States would do likewise. He called on all to ensure the safety and security of all peacekeeping personnel, whether international, national, military, police or civilian.
NICHOLETTE WILLIAMS ( Jamaica), aligning herself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping remained an essential element in the Organization’s role in the maintenance of international peace and security. Contemporary peacekeeping operations had become increasingly challenging and complex. They were primarily concerned with inter-State conflict, but they also operated in areas of civil and domestic conflict, where those had been deemed to pose a risk to international peace and security, and in cases of gross violations of international law. The effectiveness of the operations was dependent on close collaboration between international military, civilian and police organizations. Although the increase in the quantity and quality of staff, and the increased cooperation between the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries had contributed to missions’ success, there was substantial room for improvement.
She said that, for over a decade, Jamaica had been making modest contributions to United Nations peacekeeping activities through the provision of military and/or police officers. The country supported the work being undertaken to improve standards of conduct in peacekeeping missions, including the notion of a zero-tolerance approach to sexual abuse and exploitation. She lauded efforts to carry out investigations into allegations of abuse and to sensitize senior personnel on ways of addressing the issue. As peacekeeping personnel confronted extremely challenging circumstances in the field, the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel should be a matter of priority. She welcomed, in that regard, the establishment of the Department of Safety and Security, and its close cooperation with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
WILLEM RAMPANGILEI (Indonesia), aligning himself with Morocco’s earlier statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country had extensive experience in United Nations peacekeeping, having participated in 26 missions since 1956. Indonesia had been among the first countries to have offered to send troops in support of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). However, the United Nations’ Charter vision of maintaining international peace and security remained a substantial challenge. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations would need effective planning and management systems, skilled staff and sufficient technical and financial resources to assist the unprecedented level of peacekeepers in the field. Indonesia looked forward to effective implementation of the Peace Operations 2010 Reform Programme.
He said that Indonesia was concerned about the lack of a “backstopping” capacity in the Peacekeeping Department to address the safety of personnel in the field, and to investigate the causes of serious incidents. He encouraged regular updates from the Department on that matter. The Secretariat must improve communication and information technology capabilities in the field to ensure effective interplay among field officers, the Department and other relevant actors. Headquarters must coordinate more efficiently with troop-contributing countries to ensure rapid deployment of troops.
The need for multifaceted peacekeeping operations demanded adequate resources, he stressed. The lack of resources, as reflected in possibly ineffective programmes undertaken by peacekeepers, could lead to a serious loss of credibility, and cost critical local support. Fulfilling complex mandates required appropriately trained staff; the development of the Core Policy document establishing peacekeeping guidelines was a positive step. On sexual exploitation and abuse issues, full implementation of recommendations in Prince Zeid al-Hussein’s report was important.
He said that the deployment of peacekeepers would bring real peace only when the international community maintained close involvement in finding political solutions with local stakeholders. The international community needed to stand by in the post-conflict situations, as that was a critical phase in the transition to normalcy. The Peacebuilding Commission could make a significant contribution to facilitating peacekeeping, as a coordinator among relevant national and international entities. Indonesia regarded the concept of joint programming as potentially highly beneficial.
AMINU BASHIR WALI (Nigeria), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, despite the obvious weaknesses and constraints, and some regrettable failures, United Nations peacekeeping, for many developing countries, had become synonymous with peace and security, stability and development. The successes of the United Nations peacekeeping operations could not be understated. That was why he condemned, in the strongest terms, the kidnapping and killings of innocent peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lebanon. Perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers should not be allowed to escape international law, including the International Criminal Court. The need for enhanced and increased consultations between the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat on that matter was highly recommended.
He said a new doctrine on United Nations peacekeeping, which was overdue, should reflect a clear and concise compendium of policies, procedures and guidelines. The concepts and terminologies incorporated in it must be understood and agreed by all. An ounce of prevention was worth a pound of intervention. Timely identification of the causes of conflict and implementation of preventive measures would reduce the number and costs of peacekeeping operations. There was a need to support and enhance the capacity of regional institutions as a complement to United Nations peacekeeping functions. Strategies should be fine-tuned, so that United Nations peacekeeping efforts remained part of an overall plan of promoting nation-building, where absolutely necessary. Beyond good governance, rule of law and security reform, the real needs included youth employment, and repair and rebuilding of social and economic infrastructures in affected countries.
Welcoming the setting-up of the Committee of Legal Experts to look into criminal acts, as well as sexual exploitation and abuse committed by United Nations peacekeeping operations personnel, he said its recommendations should facilitate elimination of those reprehensible acts, as well as preserve the image, credibility and integrity of the Organization. The situation in Darfur constituted one of the greatest challenges to African Union peacekeeping. As the country with the largest contingent in the African Union Mission in the Sudan, Nigeria welcomed the support package agreed between the United Nations and the African Union. Strengthening the African Union Mission in the Sudan should include the “rehatting” of the peacekeeping operation with “blue helmets”, he said.
SAINIVALATI NAVOTI ( Fiji) said United Nations peacekeeping operations must constantly reform, retool and invest to maintain credibility as a viable option for global post-conflict resolution. Fiji fully supported the Department’s proposed reform programme, aimed at increasing professionalism, management and efficiency. His delegation noted the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations’ statement that the Department could not be expected to manage the quantity of peacekeeping personnel through micro-management from Headquarters. In that context, the overhauling of staff through the creation of a 2,500 cadre of civilian peacekeepers constituted the most important step in creating effective management capacity.
Asserting that the United Nations Civilian Police Unit was desperately understaffed, he said that Fiji would support proposals for budgetary adjustments aimed at addressing that shortcoming. Fiji advocated a zero-tolerance policy in dealing with criminality and misconduct, and welcomed the report by the Group of Legal Experts to look into the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeeping personnel, especially the recommendation to develop an international convention to address jurisdiction.
The expanded roles of peacekeepers, while essential for laying the foundation of lasting peace, had blurred the line between peacekeeping and peace-building, he said. Fiji, however, believed those processes complemented each other, and, it, therefore, supported calls for closer working relations between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Support Office. The security of uniformed and civilian personnel should remain a priority, and his delegation encouraged continued cooperation between the Department and that of Security Services. As a developing nation, Fiji welcomed assistance aimed at closing the divide between his country’s desire to participate in peacekeeping operations and its ability to do so fully.
THOMAS W. OHLSON ( United States) said that the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) had not had the envisioned successful conclusion, even though it had been touted two years ago as a United Nations success story. The lesson there was that, although the roots of democracy, freedom and human rights would grow strong and deep, they must be given the proper amount of time and nurturing. Rule of law, economic viability and representational government must be established early, sustained throughout the peacekeeping operation, and continuously supported, long after the operation wound down.
He said that, as soon as possible after the active phase of conflict had been brought under control, efforts must begin to distinguish between those remaining tasks appropriate for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and those more appropriately handled by other agencies. “We must also be willing to examine critically whether some of our current peacekeeping operations may actually be prolonging conflicts by not sufficiently forcing the parties to resolve their differences through political or diplomatic means.”
Addressing sexual exploitation and abuse, a glaring failure two years ago, might now be one of the success stories, he said. The progress made in the past two years to address the issue had been commendable. Strong committed leadership, followed by firm commitment on the part of Member States, had led to many significant changes. In the next few months, a draft model memorandum of understanding would be presented to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. Every Member State had a duty to investigate and prosecute any of their citizens involved in breaches of conduct and discipline. “We must follow through with our duty to protect those entrusted to us under the United Nations banner,” he insisted.
ROSELYN MAKHUMULA ( Malawi) aligning herself with the earlier statement of Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, fully supported the manner in which the United Nations was conducting its 18 operations. The demand for United Nations “blue helmets” continued to rise, and there was a need for enhanced coordination to meet the new challenges of each mission. In that regard, Malawi welcomed all efforts to support African peacekeeping capacities, including the need for a common doctrine and training standards, logistical support, funding and institutional capacity for managing peacekeeping operations. Africa had demonstrated its dedication in providing African peacekeepers in Darfur, however, the sustainability of that operation required logistical support by the international community.
On personnel matters, he said that Malawi welcomed the decision that the status of United Nations staff officers remain unchanged and that support arrangements be revised to provide subsistence allowance to staff officers, in lieu of reimbursement to the troop-contributing countries. Malawi fully supported efforts to meet the heavy demands placed on the 12 professional planners at United Nations Headquarters, as well as reform efforts in the field. She hoped that that exercise would involve all relevant actors and that the imbalance in geographic representation would be considered. Malawi would continue to provide troops well-trained in peacekeeping duties, and sensitized about the complexities of sexual exploitation and abuse, in order to preserve United Nations credibility.
CAROLINE ZIADE ( Lebanon), also associating herself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said her delegation supported the Department’s reform efforts and encouraged their vigorous pursuit. On the work of UNIFIL, Lebanon had a history with United Nations forces, as a result of the first Israeli invasion, after which the United Nations had acted as a factor of social cohesion.
In 1992, and again in 1996, UNIFIL’s centre had been bombarded by the Israelis and had suffered losses. As if that was not enough, history was repeated in 2006 when four officers lost their lives. Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) had been adopted to end Israeli aggression on Lebanon, which had lasted for 33 days. The enhancement of UNIFIL had seen a troop increase and the creation of a marine component. Soldiers today numbered 6,000. It was important to commend the speed with which the international community mobilized forces for UNIFIL and the rapidity of their deployment, which was a translation of their commitment to the just cause of Lebanon.
Meanwhile, she said, the safety of UNIFIL was the responsibility of all countries concerned. The Special Envoy had described cooperation between UNIFIL and the Lebanese army as excellent. UNIFIL’s work, under resolution 1701 (2006) was being conducted according to the principles of the United Nations Charter in respect of State sovereignty and non-interference in internal State affairs. She thanked the Secretariat for the manner in which peacekeeping operations were being conducted, and she thanked the troop-contributing countries for the speed of their response.
YASMIN TURUPHIAL ( Venezuela) said peacekeeping operations were the United Nations’ useful, ad hoc instruments for contributing to a peaceful solution to a conflict. Updating peacekeeping operations must be done in strict compliance with the United Nations Charter, including principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference. Peacekeeping operations must be governed by criteria of impartiality, the non-use of force except in self-defence, and the consent of parties. Mechanisms for consultations between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries should be strengthened, she said, underscoring the importance of participation of troop-contributing countries in all phases of planning. The purpose of peacekeeping operations were short term in nature, designed to accomplish certain tasks, such as establishing security, and law and order. Peacebuilding was a longer-term activity, to be carried out by other United Nations agencies.
She said the international community must move away from a culture of sanctions. Conflicts could not be resolved through sanctions or force. Expressing support for the zero tolerance policy regarding sexual exploitation and abuse, she underlined that those actions committed by United Nations peacekeepers tarnished the Organization. She recognized the contribution of regional arrangements in peacekeeping operations, with the understanding that such arrangements must be in line with provisions of Chapter VIII and that the United Nations should have the primary role in carrying out peacekeeping operations. All Member States had the obligation to pay their contributions on the basis of their capacity to pay. Even though some States bore a bigger burden, they did not have a special prerogative in the management of the operation.
SONG SE IL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said strict observance of the principle of respect for sovereignty in every United Nations peacekeeping operation was a prerequisite for contributing to world peace and security. A series of cases of sexual abuse by peacekeeping personnel perpetrated against civilians were a violation of sovereignty and human rights. The prime cause of those abuses was the absence of decisive measures by the United Nations and participant countries to observe the principle of respect for sovereignty and human rights in the carrying out of their operations’ mandates. The crimes of human rights violations perpetrated by military personnel upon civilians had included sex slave crimes committed by the Japanese army, and had not yet been “liquidated”. Measures to legally punish human rights violations committed during peacekeeping operations were needed, therefore, and Japan must be called to international account.
He said the United States, in 1950, had arbitrarily given the name of “United Nations Command” to the “Command of the United States Army Forces in Far East” -- a typical pattern of United Nations abuse. The United States had claimed that the “UN Command” in South Korea was legally based on a Security Council resolution, however, that resolution did not have a provision specifying the creation of a United Nations command. That command had created obstacles to settling the Korean issue and had seriously damaged United Nations credibility. That was why the General Assembly, in 1975, had recognized that continued existence of the command was unnecessary. Despite that, the United States was insisting on the continued existence of the command, which revealed its ulterior intention to maintain its military supremacy on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia, by continuously abusing the United Nations name.
It was a high priority to terminate the existence of the command, and his delegation reiterated that, for the success of peacekeeping operations, the principle of respect for sovereignty should be strictly observed, he stressed.
MOHAMMED AL-OTMI (Yemen), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the United Nations remained the primary organization responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. In that regard, he underlined the need for recognizing the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in a State’s affairs, as enshrined in the Charter. Peacekeeping operations should be provided with the necessary support, so that mandates could be accomplished successfully. Supporting the African Union’s efforts in the Sudan by providing logistical assistance, he stressed that the United Nations’ deployment should take place with the consent of the Government of the Sudan.
He said there was a need to strengthen geographical distribution within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the peacekeeping forces. Participation in peacekeeping operations should be universal and transparent. Concerned about the sexual exploitation and abuse by some United Nations peacekeepers, he said those immoral acts had affected the credibility of the Organization. He commended, in that regard, the efforts made by Prince Zeid of Jordan, as he supported a policy of zero-tolerance. Establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission would enable the Organization to carry out its role to strengthen peace in post-conflict situations. The Commission’s mandate should be clarified, however. Consultations between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries were important in the unified planning of missions.
ANDRIS STASTOLI (Albania), associating himself with the statement of the European Union and noting the anniversary of the United Nations Charter, which entered into force 61 years ago, said Albania remained committed to increasing its contribution to peacekeeping, with a core national target of full membership in the European Union. In that regard, Albania looked forward to cooperating with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations both in the framework of United Nations peacekeeping operations, and, in a larger partnership with the European Union.
He said that the success of peacekeeping troops should be part of a wider advertising campaign by the Department’s best practices section. The concept of best practices gave a clear picture of lessons learned and improvements made. Further, the work done by the international security presence in Kosovo had assured peace and provided the necessary milieu for new democratic institution building.
The establishment of a baseline specialized personnel to be deployed in areas of need would increase the efficiency of peacekeeping operations, however, continuous awareness of good conduct must not be taken for granted, he stressed. That issue must be addressed properly. Respect by peacekeepers for the culture of places in which they were deployed was also necessary, as they were not “neo-colonizers”. The establishment of baseline personnel could help. He was concerned that the proper equipment, resources and logistical support be provided to peacekeepers, especially in situations of rapid troop deployment. Recent concerns raised over financial, training, and accountability issues reflected the multidimensional nature of peacekeeping today.
NEGASH KEBRET (Ethiopia), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country not only attached considerable importance to United Nations peacekeeping operations, but was also actively participating in the pacific settlement of disputes. The preservation of global peace and security required more effective United Nations peacekeeping operations with adequate human, financial and logistical support. There was a need for clear and coherent policies that would enable peacekeeping operations to work effectively. All United Nations partners should apply an integrated approach to planning peace operations. There was a need, therefore, to create a coherent United Nations-wide system of coordination in the planning, conduct and support of integrated missions.
Supporting the partnership of the United Nations with regional organizations in the field of peacekeeping, he said a crucial area of cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations was the strengthening of Africa’s peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities. Although encouraging work had been done by Africa in the area of peacekeeping, conflicts had persisted in some parts of the continent because of a lack of means and resources to respond urgently and effectively. The United Nations assistance cell, set up at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, was a useful arrangement to take assistance to a higher level. United Nations support for the Union, however, had been provided on an ad-hoc basis and driven by contingencies, rather than strategy. The absence of a specific budget, as well as staff, dedicated to that partnership was particularly worrisome.
TENS C. KAPOMA (Zambia), aligning himself with Morocco’s earlier statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the close collaboration between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Safety and Security to establish field structures, such as the Joint Operations Centres and Joint Military Analysis Centres. Military and police divisions were understaffed, however, and his delegation fully supported the call to strengthen the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. In that regard, he urged that Department to equitably fill the vacancies with nationals of consistent troop-contributing countries, in order to address the problem of lack of representation at all leadership levels.
He also urged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to quickly inform Member States that had submitted candidates for advertised positions on the final selection in good time, so that those who had not been successful could be deployed elsewhere. His delegation endorsed the Department’s proposed measures to address conduct and discipline in peacekeeping operations, in particular, the revision of the draft memorandum of understanding regarding the provision of troops. Zambia would actively participate in the resumed session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations in December.
Two years ago, when the African Union’s Peace and Security Council was established, Zambia had called upon the international community for support for the African Union, he recalled. Today, he was pleased that the United Nations had reached an agreement with the African Union on a joint action plan that would lead to the establishment of an integrated capacity within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to implement a comprehensive support programme. Support in both “boots and boats” was required to maintain the international face of United Nations peacekeeping operations, he concluded.
CHOISUREN BAATAR (Mongolia), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, underscored the dilemma between meeting the ever-surging demand with the limited resources at hand, while further improving the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of peacekeeping operations. The significance of quality training could not be underestimated. Good progress had been made through the integrated training service. His country had introduced the United Nations Peacekeeping Training Standards for all its pre-deployment training programmes and had also been pursuing the establishment of a regional peacekeeping training centre in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Deeply concerned about the damage that sexual abuse and exploitation might inflict on the image of the United Nations, he underlined the role of pre-deployment training to avert the occurrence of such shameful acts.
He said an exit strategy for peacekeeping operations should be a strategic priority of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. If peacekeeping operations continued to increase at the current pace without successful termination of existing operations, the amount of human and financial resources needed would be enormous. Close coordination with the newly established Peacebuilding Commission, therefore, was of the highest importance for successful exit strategies. The key was to ensure that conditions for a lasting peace were already in place at the time of an operation’s termination, in order not to run the risk of repeating the bitter lesson of Timor-Leste.
SAMANTHA JAYASURIYA (Sri Lanka), associating herself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said her country had intensified cooperation in peacekeeping operations and had a substantial military and police presence in various missions. Peacekeeping operations had expanded in scope and scale. New missions had been established in conflict situations in which dynamics were often unique and diverse. That diversity had increased the need for additional allocation of human and financial resources. Peacekeeping was an intermediate step, rather than a substitute, for post-conflict peacebuilding efforts. Longer term and post-conflict recovery efforts could best be handled by the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office.
She reiterated the importance of strictly abiding by Charter principles when conducting peacekeeping operations, particularly observance of party consent, non-intervention in matters within domestic jurisdiction and the non-use of force, except in self-defence.
Underlining the need for full information sharing mechanisms to keep troop-contributing countries abreast when designing new missions or expanding existing ones, she said the safety of deployed service personnel was of utmost concern, as a troop-contributing country. While the Department needed to have the required resources, better coordination between Headquarters and field missions needed improvement. Reinforcement of human resource capacity should be done in a transparent manner. In that context, she offered the Sri Lanka Peace Support Training Institute for any future United Nations-sponsored peacekeeping training programmes. On sexual exploitation and abuse, Sri Lanka endorsed the adoption of a policy of zero-tolerance. The United Nations Department of Public Information could be involved in public diplomacy efforts.
BONIFACE G. CHIDYAUSIKU ( Zimbabwe), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping operations were continuing to grow. If the United Nations was to fulfil its mandate in the international maintenance of peace and security, there was a need for Member States to submit personnel, resources and support in a timely manner. He called on all stakeholders to play a role in the eradication of conflicts by also addressing the root causes. As the number of deployments had increased, so had the number of casualties among peacekeepers, including the regrettable deaths of the peacekeepers in Lebanon. Despite setbacks, however, peacekeepers were still on the ground, and hopefully, those efforts would be rewarded with peace and security in that troubled region.
He said it was encouraging that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was putting measures in place to address the safety and security of peacekeepers. As acts of misconduct by peacekeepers had tarnished the image of the Organization, he supported the zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse and exploitation and welcomed the fact that the Department was also addressing victims’ concern. He expressed appreciation for the assistance the Department was rendering to the African Union, in particular to the African Union Mission in the Sudan.
MAIA SHANIDZE ( Georgia) said the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission and increased resources would help elevate the peacekeeping process to levels that matched modern threats. Georgia strongly welcomed new approaches in peacekeeping operations to adjust deployment of peacekeeping missions to certain conflicts. She underscored progress achieved in the creation of the Standing Police Capacity as part of the civilian peacekeepers. Of utmost significance was the growing understanding that peacekeeping troops deployed were properly trained and equipped to fulfil their mission.
In that context, she drew attention to the situation in Abkhazia. For 14 years, Georgia had witnessed the horrible results of inefficient and ineffective peacekeeping operations. Peacekeepers introduced into the conflict zone were mandated to maintain the ceasefire and the separation of forces to create conditions for the secure return of 300,000 internally displaced persons and refugees. The deployment of peacekeeping forces to the conflict zone from the neighbouring country was controversial and should be done in the rarest of occasions, when impartiality of the neighbouring country was beyond any doubt.
None of the refugees had returned to their birthplace with any safety guarantees, she said. Moreover, just under 2,000 Georgians had been killed since the deployment of peacekeepers in the conflict zone, and numerous crimes had been committed. Peacekeepers had not undergone specialized training and considered themselves to be part of the military. It was not surprising, therefore, that mistrust had increased among Georgians towards those troops. That mistrust deepened with the recognition that the existing format of peacekeeping operations was no longer adequate to facilitate real reconciliation.
The option of involving multilateral forces not under United Nations command, including the Russian Federation, had been a historic mistake, she said. It was time to rectify that decision and put in place a real United Nations peacekeeping operation. She was certain that effective resolution required enlarged international involvement.
CARLOS OBANDO (Peru), aligning himself with the statements of the Rio Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the nature, mandate and structure of peacekeeping operations were nowadays more multidimensional in nature. The military component had been reinforced with a civilian component. Efforts to adapt must be strengthened, but one must not be distracted from root causes of conflicts, such as exclusion, poverty and marginalization. In the management of conflict situations, continued efforts should be made to distinguish between causes and symptoms.
He said that, in the face of numerous conflicts leading to serious violations of human rights, the rapid deployment of forces was one of the most important factors in peacekeeping operations. Deployment was now often delayed by the lapse of time it took for Security Council decisions to be adopted and the time needed for effective deployment. Forces should be available for deployment without conditions and with pre-established mandates. Other priorities for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations were the adoption of reforms in the Department’s structure and composition. Exit strategies for peacekeeping operations must also be adopted. He welcomed progress achieved regarding sexual exploitation and abuse issues. Peru had strengthened its participation in peacekeeping operations by increasing its personnel on the ground in seven missions.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Russian Federation, in a right of reply, spoke in connection with Georgia’s statement. While he would not go into the detail of attacks on the Russian Federation, his delegation understood, after the recent Security Council resolution on the Georgian Caucasus conflict, that his Georgian colleagues were still vexed, since the Council found an appropriate assessment of actions in Tbilisi. To take offence at that was something the Georgian delegation should feel about itself.
In the interest of finding a mutually acceptable solution, unlike his Georgian colleague, he would not involve the Committee in issues that had no connection to today’s agenda. Questions raised by Georgia were bilateral in nature and could not be considered here, today. His delegation had heard nothing new; the statement by Georgia was tangential and inappropriate.
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