|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-second General Assembly
16th Meeting (PM)
FOURTH COMMITTEE CONCLUDES COMPREHENSIVE PEACEKEEPING REVIEW, WITH DELEGATIONS
STRESSING SAFETY, SECURITY TRAINING, COORDINATION, CLEAR COMMAND STRUCTURES
Increasing Developing Countries’ Professional-Level Engagement in Peacekeeping,
Hastening Staffing Recruitment Process, Avoiding Relapse of Conflict, Among Topics
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) today concluded its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, with speakers -- many of them representing troop contributing countries from the developing world -- calling for the elements of United Nations peacekeeping to be implemented to their fullest potential, given the complex threats faced worldwide.
For most speakers, that meant more training in safety and security, better coordination between the United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding structures, and improved communication between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and troop contributing countries.
For instance, India’s delegate noted the need to establish clear command structures to ensure preservation of unity of command from Headquarters to the field. That was particularly important to troop contributing countries, which were often concerned about the safety and security of their citizens serving in missions. He said United Nations Headquarters must actively engage field missions and positively respond to solving their problems –- by, among other things, making sure that reliable operational and tactical intelligence was being circulated so as to pre-empt potential threats. The deaths of 67 peacekeepers in 2007, including that of an Indian peacekeeper, served as a reminder of the importance of fully addressing that issue.
He also pointed out that consultations among troop contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat were often held on the eve of renewal of mission mandates, leaving little room for meaningful discussions. Furthermore, while appreciating the effort by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to draft a “capstone doctrine document” as a practical guide to peacekeeping, India echoed the position of the Non-Aligned Movement voiced by Morocco’s representative last Thursday that the views of Member States must be taken into account before its publication.
Expanding on that notion, South Africa’s representative said that, given the ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding the most basic peacekeeping precepts, there was a need to agree on the terminology used and the meaning of such terms as “robust peacekeeping” and other phrases. Concepts and terminology should evolve with the evolution of the realities on the ground, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should develop its capstone document through a series of open-ended, expert-level workshops.
A spirit of inclusiveness should also extend to staffing, with several speakers calling on partners to continue providing training to build the capacity of peacekeeping personnel from developing countries. That might lead to an increased contribution from those countries in the United Nations peacekeeping effort.
Cameroon’s delegate explained that his Government had recently launched a school to train police and troops from African States. Hopefully, the school would allow more countries to be involved in peacekeeping operations, and also bolster civilian participation in peacekeeping missions. Training in safety and security should be extended to all levels of personnel, even senior managers, he said, and should encompass the question of ethics and other related topics.
However, Zambia’s representative remarked that more training alone could not prevent the marginalization of developing countries’ participation at the professional level. Thus, the recruitment process using the Galaxy e-staffing system should be re-examined in terms of its complexity and lack of transparency.
Echoing those thoughts, Zimbabwe’s speaker said it was “disturbing” that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support were still short staffed, despite having been granted the authority to begin recruitment. The fact that a quarter of a million applications had been received for various posts seemed to indicate the departments faced a lengthy selection process.
Like several other speakers today, however, Yemen’s delegate said all the energy expended in peacekeeping reform was justified since preserving peace was the raison d’être of the United Nations. Peace was also the path to prosperity. Still, the growing size of the United Nations peacekeeping efforts, complete with a budget of around $7 billion, seemed to demonstrate that the world was “imbalanced”. What the world needed was more development assistance to poor societies, which suffered from want of education and medicine, among other things.
He ended by noting that, had the international community been generous in promoting economic, social and agricultural development, it would not be sending enormous sums of money and people to preserve peace.
Several speakers said that peacekeeping must be conducted in such a way that avoided the resumption of conflict. As such, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration should be made an essential component of peacekeeping operations, without creating unnecessary overlap between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission.
Rounding off the meeting, Vice Chairperson Hossein Maleki ( Iran) noted that the agenda item on peacekeeping would remain open and that the Fourth Committee would meet in a resumed session next year to consider the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. At that time, the relevant draft resolution would be adopted.
Also speaking were the representatives of Serbia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Croatia, Kuwait, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Malawi and Libya.
The representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross also made a statement.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 6 November, to take up assistance in mine action.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to conclude its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all its aspects.
SLAVKO KRULJEVIC ( Serbia) said that, in today’s world, the maintenance of peace had become an ever more complex assignment. The United Nations was an irreplaceable mechanism of collective response, and no alternative to it existed. Participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations was one of the most important tasks and contributions that its Member States were called upon to make. Serbia’s participation to date had been modest, but it was resolved to increase its participation gradually and in accordance with its abilities. To prepare its personnel for peacekeeping operations and other activities, Serbia had established a centre for peacekeeping operations within its Ministry of Defence.
He said that the three peace operations taking place in Europe today, in Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo and Metohija, were of vital importance for maintaining peace and security in the continent. Their functioning, while positive, had not always been flawless. The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) had been deployed in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija since 10 June 1999, under Security Council resolution 1244 (1999). Notwithstanding an eight-year presence and a clear mandate provided by the resolution, the situation of the Serbs and other non-Albanians in the province was still very difficult and Serbia had drawn international attention to the situation on many occasions. This included comments to the United Nations Secretary-General’s reports on UNMIK, which pointed out that the Mission had failed to ensure security, freedom of movement, return of internationally displaced persons and basic living conditions for non-Albanian communities in Kosovo and Metohija. Serbia had also highlighted irregularities, which had affected the individual property of Serbs and Serbia’s State property.
Serbia was fully committed to the quest for a peaceful solution to the complex question of the future status of Kosovo and Metohija within the ongoing process under the Contact Group’s auspices, he said. Serbia would only accept a solution that was acceptable to both sides. Such a solution should be approved by the Security Council. Other solutions or unilaterally-declared independence and its recognition would result in unforeseeable consequences, not only for the stability and security of South-East Europe, but for Europe as a whole, as well as other parts of the world. Thus, UNMIK’s mandate, as provided for by Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), would remain in force until the Council decided otherwise. Serbia could not accept any change in UNMIK’s role, whether it be a change of its mandate or its full or partial replacement by a different mission unless it was consulted and a decision to that effect was adopted by the Council. If any future mission in Kosovo and Metohija was to succeed, it would have to cooperate with the Serbian Government. As it had done in the past, Serbia was ready to make a maximum contribution to the functioning of UNMIK and the Kosovo KFOR (NATO-led international force).
MOHAMMAD SALIM (India), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed efforts by the Secretary-General to respond to peacekeeping challenges by rationalizing United Nations structure. However, there was an urgent need to establish clear command structures, coherence in policy and strategy, effective coordination and integration, as well as to ensure preservation of unity of command from Headquarters to the field. The safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers was of vital concern to troop contributors, and the deaths of 67 peacekeepers in 2007, including that of an Indian peacekeeper, was a reminder of the importance of fully addressing that issue. Reliable operational and tactical intelligence was essential to pre-empt potential threats, and the bureaucracy at Headquarters must actively engage field missions and positively respond to solving their problems.
He also encouraged the Secretary-General to address the issue of consolidation of peacekeeping accounts while undertaking administrative reorganization and streamlining. That would provide an opportunity to tackle the issue of the sometimes selective financing of peacekeeping missions. Member States should be entitled to cash surpluses from missions only if they did not owe dues to other peacekeeping missions. That would help address the concern of developing countries that contributed the overwhelming majority of peacekeeping troops, yet continued to be owed considerable sums of money.
Consultations between troop contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat were often held on the eve of renewal of mission mandates, leaving little scope for meaningful discussions, he said, adding his hope that that situation would change. Furthermore, while appreciating the effort by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to draft a “doctrine document” as a practical guide to peacekeeping, India took the view of the Non-Aligned Movement that the views of Member States must be taken into account before its publication.
He said the United Nations should strengthen peacekeeping without regionalizing it. In terms of the conduct and discipline of troops, preparatory training in terms of a multicultural, pluralistic and tolerant outlook was as important as swift punitive action, once culpability was established. The Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training was encouraged to benefit from the considerable expertise of troop contributing countries in establishing its Integrated Training Service. There was a need for more transparency, as well, in ensuring representation of qualified candidates from troop contributing countries in senior leadership positions in the Police Division. In response to the Secretary-General’s call for increased representation of female personnel in field missions, India had provided the first full female formed police unit, which was completing its first year in Liberia.
MAGED ABDEL AZIZ (Egypt), also aligning himself with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, said he rejected attempts to change the guiding principles governing United Nations activities in the field of peacekeeping, which were: obtaining the consent of parties before deployment; impartiality; and the non-use of force except in self defence. He reiterated his belief that those measures should not interfere in countries’ internal affairs. Also, the selection of peacekeeping forces should not be political, religious or based on ethnicity, but on competence and capability to contribute to realizing the agreed targets. The restructuring of Department of Peacekeeping Operations should take place in line with those guiding principles.
He said the Peacekeeping Department should do all it could to guarantee the safety and security of ground troops, in coordination with troop contributing countries. Consultations between the Security Council and troop contributors should be increased and enhanced, and there must be more coordination between both the Peacekeeping Department and the Department of Field Support. Also, given the vital relationship between peacebuilding and development, he stressed the importance of maximum coordination between United Nations entities overseeing finance and development issues and the Peacebuilding Commission. Discipline matters must be addressed, also in consultation with concerned Governments, and a “culture of peacekeeping” should be promoted through regular meetings and workshops with experts to discuss new developments in peacekeeping.
He voiced concern about current trends that had made it necessary to conduct peacekeeping operations in conjunction with regional organizations, particularly in Africa. Expressing support for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), he said such cooperation should refer strictly to the provision in Security Council resolution 1769 (2007) on the African character of the force. Lastly, he turned to the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse, calling for it to be addressed in coordination with troop contributing countries.
PRASAD KARIYAWASAM (Sri Lanka), also associating his statement with that of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated the importance of being guided by the principles and purposes enshrined in the United Nations Charter when conducing peace operations. Those principles -– such as the consent of the parties, non-intervention in matters within the domestic jurisdiction, non-use of force except in self-defence and impartiality –- still had an undiminished validity when it came to the success of peacekeeping missions and peacekeepers’ responsibilities. Sri Lanka recognized the importance of creating a comprehensive and all encompassing policy document stipulating the lessons learned and best practices exercised in peacekeeping. Efforts by the Best Practices Unit to compile a “comprehensive doctrine” or a “practical guide” on peacekeeping were commendable, but he shared concerns expressed by others that the consultation process in preparing that document should include all levels of troop and police contributing countries.
He said his country recognized the need for allocating additional resources and reorganizing the existing human and material resources within the Secretariat. That was a key aspect in managing peacekeeping operations in a more efficient and effective manner, and ensuring their success and integrity, including enhanced safety and security of troops, improved management and accountability of resources, and the responsible behaviour and conduct of all categories of United Nations staff and related personnel. The overstretched human resources in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations needed reinforcement –- a process that should be undertaken in a transparent and open manner. Troop contributing countries from the developing world were especially inadequately represented in the senior positions in the Secretariat and at field headquarters.
The conduct and discipline of United Nations troops should be addressed as part of the dialogue on institutional reform, he said. Reiterating Sri Lanka’s commitment to the zero-tolerance policy, he commended the efforts by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations to improve the discipline and conduct of United Nations peacekeeping personnel, and requested the Secretariat to incorporate the amendments recommended by the Special Committee into the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and the troop contributing nations. Carrying out preliminary investigations and establishing concrete supportive evidence against perpetrators was also important. In that, however, the United Nations had an important responsibility to safeguard the principle of innocence until proven guilty and to avoid allegations regarding serious misconduct being sensationalized in the media before facts were substantiated. Also, more should be done to expand and strengthen the number of training centres at the national level, and the United Nations could enhance its scope of training by recognizing qualified national-level peacekeeping training institutes.
AMIR MUHAREMI (Croatia), aligning himself with the European Union’s statement, said that his country had once been a former recipient country, but was now proud to contribute troops and police to United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world. The country was planning to add another dimension to its peacekeeping efforts: providing specialized military units within a period of two years. It had also been training peacekeepers from emerging troop contributing countries, and, to date, officers from more than 20 countries had participated in those courses. Further, Croatia contributed to “e-learning” courses of the United Nations Programme of Correspondence Instruction in Peacekeeping Operations for African peacekeepers.
He said that, in line with the country’s gender policy, Croatia was strongly encouraging female candidates to participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Current female participation stood at 7 per cent of the total peacekeeping personnel deployed. Croatia gave full support to the establishment of an ad hoc committee on the issue of criminal accountability, and hoped that its work would result in full implementation of the “zero tolerance” policy.
BASO SANGQU (South Africa), also associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed appreciation for efforts made by the Secretariat and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in supporting the enhancement of African peacekeeping activities, including for the development and strengthening of its capacities. South Africa further appreciated the Organization’s strong emphasis on partnership in peacekeeping and supported all efforts to establish a focal point for the African Union/United Nations cooperation on peacekeeping matters. There was a need to forge closer partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations, but the initiative with the African Union should not be perceived as absolving the United Nations of its responsibilities. Additionally, funding remained Africa’s most critical peacekeeping weakness, and South Africa welcomed all support to enhance Africa’s ability to undertake peacekeeping operations. Hopefully, the cooperation with the United Nations would grow beyond capacity-building.
He said that South Africa supported efforts to effectively link peacekeeping with a broad peacebuilding strategy. The needs for multidimensional peacekeeping operations should be viewed against the need of peacekeepers to focus on their core mission. Thus, the multidimensional operations must reflect the purpose of and goals enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Making full use of political processes instead of military functions alone should also be emphasized. Reform measures should correspond to real needs, and their implementation should result in integration of existing resources and full development of existing mechanisms.
Given the ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding the most basic peacekeeping precepts, there was a need to agree on the terminology used and the meaning of such terms as “robust peacekeeping” and other phrases, he said. Concepts and terminology should evolve in keeping with the realities on the ground. Thus, it was necessary to discuss doctrine and terminology, and develop a common understanding of peacekeeping operations. South Africa welcomed all efforts by the Peacekeeping Department to develop a “capstone document” through a series of open-ended, expert-level workshops, and it looked forward to further discussions.
He said that the safety and security of the United Nations and associated personnel remained a challenge. Attacks on peacekeepers should be condemned and curbed, and more must be done to strengthen the security of field personnel. Also, peacekeepers responsible for upholding the core values of the United Nations should be recruited. He urged the Peacekeeping Department to continue to address the current imbalance of geographic representation, gender distribution and underrepresentation of Member States. South Africa fully supported the Department’s production of a generic training module on “Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse” for mandatory mission-induction courses for all United Nations peacekeeping personnel.
Peacekeeping was not an easy task and should not be an end in itself, but rather a tool for creating better conditions for sustainable development and good governance, he said. Thus, it should be undertaken by using an integrated approach that incorporated peacebuilding during its start-up. Such arrangements could facilitate a smooth transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, and might serve as a stimulus for participation in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and security sector reform during the post-conflict period.
MOHAMMED M. ALI AL-OTMI ( Yemen), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement’s statement, said all the energy placed in peacekeeping reform was justified since preserving peace was the raison d’être of the United Nations. Peace was also the path to prosperity. However, the growing size of the United Nations peacekeeping efforts, complete with a budget of around $7 billion, seemed to demonstrate that the world was “imbalanced”. Indeed, peacekeeping should not be viewed as the only solution to peace. What the world needed was more development assistance to poor societies so they could rise out of poverty and halt their “social deterioration”. Poor countries suffered from want of education, medicine, and so on, and had the international community been generous in promoting economic, social and agricultural development, it would not be sending enormous sums of money and people to preserve peace.
He stressed the importance of preventive diplomacy, while respecting the sovereignty of States. It was similarly important to understand the real causes of conflict and for all countries to uphold the provisions of the United Nations Charter. He encouraged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to be more open, and to take into account the experience of candidates from different countries when recruiting, so United Nations peacekeeping operations would be truly international in nature.
Turning to the “capstone document”, he said he understood it to be a guideline upon which work in the field would be based. The Secretariat should take care with the terms used in the document, and to eliminate whatever ambiguities it contained. For example, it should clarify its stand on the use of force, which should only be for self-defence.
In terms of UNAMID, he noted that success depended on the political process, and that the Mission needed financial and political support from Member States. It should also learn to work well with the local community, and troop contributing countries must undergo the appropriate training. He condemned all attacks on peacekeepers, and urged United Nations Headquarters to pay more attention to security issues. He also voiced support for the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy in cases of sexual exploitation and abuse.
ANNE LUZONGO MTAMBOH ( Zambia), associating her country as well with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said Zambia considered the safety and security of peacekeepers an essential condition, and called for the strengthening of the 2004 Security Management Model. It also looked forward to the finalization and approval of the security policy by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. Misconduct was unacceptable as it had a detrimental effect on the fulfilment of mandates, tarnished the reputation of the troop and police contributing countries and brought ridicule to the United Nations. Zambia was prepared to work with all concerned to ensure that all kinds of misconduct, especially sexual exploitation and abuse, were eliminated from peacekeeping.
She said that the ongoing reforms in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations were exerting increasing demand for professional peacekeepers with the necessary skills to effectively and efficiently deliver support services. While developing countries had professional personnel, specific skills needed to be enhanced, and Zambia called on cooperating partners to continue providing training to build capacity. Yet training could not guard against the marginalization of developing countries’ participation at the professional level. Thus, the recruitment process using the Galaxy e-staffing system should be re-examined in terms of its complexity and lack of transparency.
The time had also come for the troop contributing countries to have more say in the decision-making process of peacekeeping operations, she said. Today’s strengthened peacekeeping cooperation and partnership between the United Nations and regional organization testified to the fact that the weak and the strong nations, the rich and the poor were all united and equal in finding solutions to the problems of conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
Noting that Zambia continued to face problems in securing death and disability claims for its troops that had paid the ultimate price in the line of duty for the United Nations, and that her delegation had claims that had been pending for years, she requested that the claim procedures be simplified to enable their early settlement.
BONIFACE G. CHIDYAUSIKU ( Zimbabwe) said it was disturbing that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support were still short staffed, despite having been granted the authority to begin recruitment. Noting that the Secretary-General had recently requested Member States to submit candidates for Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support, he voiced hoped that the selection to fill that post would be done expeditiously. Also, Jane Holl Lute had said that a quarter of a million applications for various posts were ready for screening. He wondered how long the selection process would take, reminding the Secretariat that the recruitment effort should be conducted in a transparent and professional manner.
He said that Zimbabwe, as a regular contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations, had military and police observers in six peacekeeping missions. Training for peacekeeping operations was an ongoing process at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ Integrating Training Services should take an interest in that regional initiative.
Regarding the “capstone document”, he stressed that the Department must undertake wide ranging consultations before coming up with a final document. Whatever guidelines that document contained should remain within the confines of the United Nations Charter. Finally, there should be a concerted effort to end acts of sexual misconduct within peacekeeping operations.
KHALAF BU DHHAIR ( Kuwait), similarly associating his country with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Peacekeeping Department offered a huge and constructive contribution in support of the peacekeeping operations worldwide. Those operations were an “extra asset” in establishing international peace and security in areas of conflict and reflected the constant political commitment of Member States to the importance of realizing collective peace and security. Peace and security were not merely lofty values, but a real and necessary need that humanity should not relinquish. Thus, it was necessary for the Security Council to have a mandate over peacekeeping operations for them to be more effective and to receive more attention.
He said that the role of peacekeeping operations should be strengthened by redoubling efforts in the fields of effective leadership and planning, and by defining clearly and precisely the desired mission and aim to be achieved. The latter should be accomplished through effective coordination and cooperation between the relevant United Nations bodies on one side, and between those bodies and the troop contributing countries and other international organizations, on the other. Also, concentration should be given to the technical aspects of the operations, in order to enhance the peacekeeping forces’ capabilities. He expressed appreciation to the European Union and the African Union for their outstanding contributions to and cooperation with peacekeeping forces. He also thanked the Member States that had contributed to the work of strengthening the capabilities of the United Nations to manage peacekeeping operations.
Kuwait commended the role of the United Nations in maintaining border signs between Kuwait and Iraq in implementing Security Council resolution 833 (1993), he continued. Kuwait had implemented all the recommendations included in the United Nations technical report concerning the removal of obstacles for the preparation of adequate conditions for the work of the Organization’s technical committees to perform their duties in maintaining the border signs. Although Iraq’s cooperation in that matter had been positive, Kuwait hoped that Iraq would exert more effort to remove the obstacles on its side of the border, in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations technical team.
He noted that Kuwait always paid its peacekeeping assessment fully and on time, despite the more than five-fold increase in those assessments in the past few years. Hopefully, all Member States would adhere to paying their assessments fully and on time. He affirmed his country’s condemnation of any acts or threats that targeted individuals working in peacekeeping operations, and called for unity in all efforts to guarantee the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel.
CHOI SUNG-SOO (Republic of Korea) noted the important role played by United Nations peacekeeping operations in maintaining international peace and security, particularly the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the soon to be deployed UNAMID. The surge in number and scope of United Nations-led peacekeeping operations presented opportunities and challenges. Cooperation between the United Nations and international regional organizations was becoming a key factor in addressing security issues, and that cooperation should be extended to all stakeholders, including major financial contributors, in the form of regular consultation.
Voicing concern about sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by peacekeeping personnel, he said he supported the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy and hoped to see its “specific” implementation. The Republic of Korea also supported increasing the responsibility of commanding officers for the misdeeds of personnel under their authority. The revised draft model Memorandum of Understanding, signed last June, included provisions to address sexual exploitation and abuse, with which his Government had been greatly pleased.
He noted that the success of peacekeeping missions depended on rapid deployment of forces, and for that reason, there was an urgent need to strengthen the United Nations operational capacity. In doing so, the Secretariat must engage constructively with troop contributing countries through better communication. The Republic of Korea would continue to participate in peacekeeping operations as a way to repay the United Nations for its effort to bring about peace and economic growth in his country. He commended the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for being a “major step forward” in enhancing the professionalism and efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping.
CAROLINE ZIADE ( Lebanon), also associating with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said her country had followed the peacekeeping reform process. While the Secretariat was currently mobilizing several complex and ambitious missions, UNIFIL continued. After more than a year since the Security Council had passed resolution 1701 (2006) to strengthen UNIFIL, the Government of Lebanon had itself undertaken to strengthen its security and legitimacy. The participation of more than 30 States in the strengthened UNIFIL represented the international community’s support for Lebanon. It also notably exhibited the participation of Western States in peacekeeping operations, noted by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, in his statement. That participation increased the responsibility to succeed. The responsibility to protect freedom in Lebanese society also grew in light of that North-South cooperation -– cooperation, which was evident in a number of joint patrols and training exercises.
Stressing that UNIFIL had identified itself with the struggle of many Lebanese civilians with cluster bombs deployed by Israel, she noted that the efforts undertaken by the mine clearance units of the United Nations and of other countries had helped Lebanese civilians face that daily danger. She expressed gratitude for the support of the Secretary-General and Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, as well as the strong condemnation of the June bombing of UNIFIL, during which a number of troops were killed. She saluted the elements deployed in Southern Lebanon, which continued to face, side by side with the Lebanese forces and civilians, risk and danger.
STEVE D. MATENJE ( Malawi), also aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said wars and armed conflicts were preventing the United Nations from helping countries achieve economic and social advancement. Most of the conflicts resulted from economic deprivation, poverty and the denial of the rule of law and democracy. Three kinds of action were needed to achieve true peace: stopping violence, including violence against women; reducing poverty; and promoting social and political justice. The huge amount of money being spent on peacekeeping operations was worrisome, especially since that money could be used to build schools, hospitals and roads. He was pleased that the Secretary-General would address conflict prevention in his report on peacekeeping in December.
He said that the Security Council should better coordinate with the other organs and bodies of the United Nations –- namely the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council -- and engage Governments more in its decision-making process. Malawi would continue to participate in peacekeeping operations, despite its limited resources.
He congratulated the female staff members appointed to strategic positions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, and voiced hope that more women would be employed in due course. The employment of the right men and women in strategic positions would also enable the two departments to address the problem of sexual violence and exploitation. As for UNAMID, he expressed deep regret at the recent loss of African peacekeeping troops, adding that, hopefully, UNAMID would ensure that they did not die in vain.
MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon), also aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, given the changing nature of conflicts and the larger range of threats to peace, peacekeeping operations had become more complex and “enforcement-oriented”. The intervention of regional actors had also become more frequent, especially after 1990. A report from 1992 had even dedicated an entire chapter to cooperation with regional bodies.
With all the changes in the field of peacekeeping, he said that Cameroon still believed that the basic principles of peacekeeping should be upheld. In that context, any work done on the “capstone document” should be inclusive. In addition, peacekeeping must be conducted in such a way that avoided the resumption of conflict. As such, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration should be made an essential component of peacekeeping operations, without creating unnecessary overlap between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission.
He also called for troop contributing countries to be reimbursed for their participation in ongoing or concluded missions. More attention must be paid to the safety of personnel on the ground, and he encouraged the Department of Security and Safety to persevere in training personnel in self-protection. As peacekeeping operations grew in complexity, that training should be extended to all levels of personnel, even senior managers, and should encompass the question of ethics and related topics. Cameroon, with the help of donor countries, had recently launched a school to train police and troops of African States, and he thanked all countries that had participated in the inaugural conference. Hopefully the school would allow more countries to be involved in peacekeeping operations, and also bolster civilian participation in peacekeeping missions. He reiterated Cameroon’s availability to participate in the Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT).
CRISTINA PELLANDINI, observer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said the multifaceted nature of peacekeeping operations, the emerging concept of integrated missions and ever more difficult and violent environments in which United Nations forces operated had highlighted the need to develop a coherent framework for such operations. Noting the peacekeeping reform process, she expressed the Committee’s willingness to its share expertise in that area. Interactions between the United Nations and the Committee had developed considerably, and such cooperation was particularly essential given that United Nations peacekeepers were frequently deployed in countries still plagued by armed conflict. It was “extremely important” that the peacekeepers were fully acquainted with the rules of international humanitarian law and human rights law.
She said that the International Committee was confident that the guiding documents drafted in the framework of the reform process would stipulate a “clear commitment” to respecting humanitarian law. Subordinate documents should likewise integrate international humanitarian law references. The Committee was convinced that sound training in international law had a “preventive value” and offered operational benefits for United Nations peacekeeping operations.
United Nations peacekeepers often played a significant role in protecting civilians, and in that respect, the military and security dimensions of the peacekeepers’ “protection activities” should be distinguished from protection activities conducted by humanitarian actors, she said. The Committee also underlined the need to preserve neutral, impartial humanitarian action. Political or military action, on the one hand, and humanitarian activities on the other hand, must be kept separate and distinct, since their conflation could result in confusion. It was for that reason that the Committee deemed it essential that political or military operations be conceived in such a way so as not to erode the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian operations.
EZZIDIN BELKHEIR ( Libya) expressed support for finding political solutions to conflicts at the same time that peacekeeping operations were being considered. In fact, political solutions should be sought before peacekeeping troops were deployed. He expressed thanks to the Sudan for its efforts and participation in the recent conference in Sirte, Libya, to work towards a ceasefire, and he called on all States to exert their influence to bring all groups who had taken up arms to participate in the peace negotiations.
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