International Community Asked to ‘Bow Head’ in Memory of Those Who Pay Ultimate Price for Peace, as Fourth Committee Debate Centres on Respect for Host Country
International Community Asked to ‘Bow Head’ in Memory of Those Who Pay Ultimate Price for Peace, as Fourth Committee Debate Centres on Respect for Host Country
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
15th Meeting (AM)
International Community Asked to ‘Bow Head’ in Memory of Those Who Pay Ultimate
Price for Peace, as Fourth Committee Debate Centres on Respect for Host Country
Legitimacy of Peacekeeping Mandate Said to Depend on Host Nation’s Perception
Of Mission; Speaker Says Attacks May Be Sparked by Local Rejection of UN Presence
United Nations peacekeeping, as the Organization’s pre-eminent instrument in maintaining international peace and security and complement to such crucial tools as mediation and peace accords, required a reliable partnership with the Security Council and the critical consent of the parties, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) heard today during its debate on peacekeeping.
Senegal’s representative pointed out that to date, 115 countries had provided personnel to the United Nations Blue Helmets, whose numbers had increased nine-fold since 1999. Those men and women bore the heavy responsibility of keeping the peace, and the international community bowed its head before the memory of those who had paid the ultimate price for peace.
The current level of deployment and the multidimensional nature of peacekeeping operations were unprecedented. Because many peacekeeping operations included military, political, humanitarian and even peacebuilding elements, all peacekeeping stakeholders needed to be speaking the same language, and he called for the improved effectiveness of triangular dialogue between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.
Speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Nattawut Sabyeroop (Thailand) said that United Nations peacekeeping was a unique global partnership that required the combined effort of the Member States, the Security Council, and the Secretariat. At present, there were more than 120,000 peacekeepers, including 98,000 uniformed personnel, serving in 16 operations in four continents. In that light, the trilateral cooperation and coordination should be strengthened.
The Association, he said, counted among its members a number of the top troop- and police-contributing countries, underlining the importance of clear, credible and realistically implemented mandates. The contributors of troops and police should be included at the early stages of mandate drafting, and mandates must not be so broad that they stretched the countries too thin, he said.
Around the room, there was broad agreement of the multiplicity of challenges with peacekeeping the option of choice and demand higher than the ready supply. Underpinning those comments today was the position expressed by Venezuela’s representative that the achievement of the peacekeeping operation and the perception of the host country of that mission were fundamentally linked to the legitimacy of its mandate. It was crucial to adhere to the guiding principles of neutrality, consent of the parties, and use of force only in case of self-defence.
She said the current gap between the contributors’ resources and the expectations generated by some mandates had given rise to undeniable tensions. That was also a product of the legal vacuum, which made it impossible to de-limit the responsibilities of the States. It was important to ensure that peacekeeping operations continued to comply with the noble ends for which they were created. Their mandates must not jeopardize the complex relationship between actors representing the United Nations and their national counterparts.
Indeed, said Nepal’s representative, while the increased demand on United Nations peacekeeping was a testimony to the confidence placed in the Organization, that trend had brought to the fore the critical issue of State sovereignty and consent. Operations must be a partnership, and responsibility must be shared among the General Assembly, Security Council, the contributors, regional partners, host countries, and the United Nations Secretariat — from mandate design to withdrawal.
Expressing concern with the rise in attacks on United Nations buildings and personnel in peacekeeping operations, Singapore’s representative said that some attacks might be sparked by the local rejection of any United Nations presence.
However, he stressed that there were times when the presence of United Nations personnel was essential for effective security operations to be delivered. Adequate protection and security needed to be ensured for personnel so that they can perform the tasks expected of them.
Also along those lines, the representative of Syria suggested that the credibility of peacekeeping missions could be undermined when repeated attempts were made to circumvent the principle of prior consent of host countries, stressing that the United Nations Charter underscored the importance of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the various parties.
Hailing from a country with two active peacekeeping missions and one in neighbouring South Sudan, the representative of Sudan said there had been considerable improvements in the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur, and murder rates had dropped as a result of cooperating to enable the United Nations to discharge its mission successfully. Still, he insisted that peacekeeping operations must be in keeping with the United Nations Charter and the principles of national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He further said that peacekeeping operations had changed over time, and were now multidimensional, humanitarian, police-military operations. However, those changes must not prevent the addressing of root causes, and peacekeeping operations should not subvert political processes.
In order to be successful, he said they must receive political support, have a focused mandate, and be accompanied by a clear and rapidly deployable exit strategy. It was important to increase the number of national troops in peacekeeping operations and respect the commitments concerning the transport and premises used to host troops, as set down in international treaties and agreements.
Also speaking were the representatives of Chile (on behalf on the Rio Group), Brazil, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Egypt, Guatemala, Kuwait, Eritrea, Israel, Mongolia, Peru, Rwanda and Kenya.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 26 October, to continue its debate on peacekeeping.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its general debate on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. (See also Press Release GA/SPD/490 of 24 October.)
OCTAVIO ERRAZURIZ (Chile), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said that the current scale of United Nations peacekeeping and its central role in maintaining international peace and security made it imperative to continue to strengthen the operational capacity and the organizational structure of the missions, both at Headquarters and in the field. The Rio Group reiterated that the perceived legitimacy of peacekeeping missions was essential to their long-term efficacy. They must, therefore, be conducted in full conformity with the United Nations Charter and with the basic principles of peacekeeping: consent of the parties, impartiality, and use of force only in self-defence or in defence of the mandate. Also important was universalizing participation in the operations.
He said the Rio Group was firmly committed to strengthening the Special Committee on Peacekeeping, Committee of 34, as the only forum entitled to establish normative guidance on the issue for the entire United Nations system. The Group would make every effort to ensure that the Committee’s report was an increasingly relevant tool to reiterate fundamental principles, instruct the work of the Secretariat and make clear the General Assembly’s views on peacekeeping operations. In that sense, the Group reiterated the promotion of an informal dialogue seeking to improve the work of the Committee and was ready to make a substantive contribution to such a dialogue. It also supported improving the Committee’s interaction with other organs, in particular, the Security Council and the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).
The Rio Group underlined the importance of the Global Field Support Strategy, intended to improve the quality and efficiency in supplying support services to United Nations missions on the ground, he said. The Group took note of the report on the progress of implementation of the Strategy (document A/65/643), which had been considered by the Special Committee during its last session. The Group emphasized the need to continue consultations between the Secretariat and Member States on the implementation of all the aspects of the Strategy, with the objective of ensuring the highest quality and efficiency of the services provided to the contingencies on the ground.
He highlighted the need for substantially strengthening the system of informative periodic sessions on military issues, in particular, when a rapid deterioration of the situation occurred on the ground, which threatened the safety of peacekeeping personnel. The Group believed that better coordination between the Security Council, the Special Committee, the Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries, was essential. The Group highlighted the central role of the Security Council’s working group on peacekeeping operations.
NATTAWUT SABYEROOP (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said a number of crucial tools, such as mediation and peace agreement observations, could help resolve disputes peacefully, and pave the way for durable peace. However, peacekeeping remained the pre-eminent instrument in maintaining international peace and security. Durable peace and security, at any level and especially in the post-conflict environment, must be addressed in a holistic and comprehensive manner. In that connection, he urged the Security Council to construct a framework to enhance complementarity between peacekeeping operations and further essential work.
In terms of cooperation and coordination, he said the United Nations peacekeeping was a unique global partnership that required the combined effort of the Member States, the Security Council, and the Secretariat. At present, there were more than 120,000 peacekeepers, including 98,000 uniformed personnel, serving in 16 operations in four continents. In that light, trilateral cooperation and coordination should be strengthened. The Association counted among its members a number of the top troop- and police-contributing countries. Clear, credible and realistically implemented mandates, therefore, were important. Troop- and police-contributing countries should be included at the early stages of mandate drafting, and mandates must not be so broad that they stretched those countries too thin.
He looked forward to further progress and the meaningful development of the concept of modularization, global and regional service centres, human resources management and procurement, and thus, to considering in detail the upcoming progress report of the Global Field Support Strategy. South-south cooperation should play a significant role in addressing many aspects of the resource gap, and the ongoing review of civilian capacity was very important in strengthening the global partnership between the United Nations and Member States, in particular, those from the global South. He further reiterated the importance of cooperation between Association States and the United Nations in the area of peacekeeping.
Speaking in his national capacity, he saluted peacekeepers who had lost their lives, particularly Petty Officer First ClassPipatpoomSrikadkao, a member of the Thai infantry battalion presently deployed in the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). In the past two decades, Thailand had a legacy of contributing nearly 20,000 troops and military observers to United Nations peacekeeping, beginning with the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1997. His country’s contribution to peacekeeping over the years was a testament of its unwavering commitment to the maintenance of peace and security.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP ( Brazil), associating herself with the statement of the Rio Group, said that peacekeepers alone could not resolve conflicts. Their ultimate goal must be to create conditions for a just and lasting peace. Brazil had consistently underlined that for peace to be sustainable, security must go hand in hand with development. Brazil welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to request peacekeeping missions to provide information on their local economic impact. Such information must be accompanied by concrete recommendations on how to maximize positive impacts.
She said her country was helping to strengthen the rule of law, which was another key aspect of peacekeepers’ work in ensuring sustainable peace. Peacekeeping operations should give rule of law assistance wherever needed to ensure lasting security and stability, and not only in the sectors of justice, police and corrections. Depending on the circumstances on the ground, aspects could be just as critical — for instance, support to management of natural resources, guaranteeing property and land rights, and establishment of administrative structures.
Filling gaps, such as mobility assets, was always an urgent priority, she said, stressing the need to ensure that peacekeeping drew on human and material resources of the highest possible quality. Clearly, in the current financial climate, that was a delicate issue. Yet, maintaining artificially low rates of reimbursement did not make peacekeeping cheaper: it transferred the costs from the United Nations as a whole to the troop contributing countries, and discouraged improvements in training, preparedness and capabilities.
YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), associating his statements with those of the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that in view of the concrete tasks expected of peacekeepers, there were also concrete expectations, from the Security Council and the United Nations Secretariat. It was critical that the Council continued to monitor the situation on the ground comprehensively and that the Secretariat provided sound and credible assessments. The troop- and police-contributing countries must be consulted meaningfully throughout all stages of peacekeeping.
She stated that the lack of required resources might not only have a bearing on the safety of the peacekeepers, but also affect their capacities to safeguard the civilian populations. Indonesia, therefore, supported the request for the Security Council to include in its briefings about the peacekeeping operations, a realistic assessment of how available capabilities and logistic planning affected implementation of the various mandate elements.
Peacekeeping alone, she added, was not sufficient to achieve sustainable peace. Post-conflict peacebuilding was crucial for war-torn societies, and Indonesia concurred with the Special Committee’s desire for effective coordination among the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Political Affairs, and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, along with other relevant United Nations and non-United Nations agencies. Furthermore, skilled and culturally-aware civilian experts, especially from the global South, could be deployed in areas in which expertise was required by the host countries.
PHAM VINH QUANG (Viet Nam), aligning himself with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that United Nations peacekeeping had entered a period of consolidation in terms of the size of deployments. With more than 120,000 personnel deployed in 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents, United Nations peacekeeping had a wide range of complex mandates extending far beyond the traditional task and reflecting current complexity and risk. He noted the continued efforts by the Departments of Peacekeeping and Field Support in reinvigorating the operations to meet the demands in an effective and sustainable manner. Viet Nam supported the recommendations contained in the report of the Committee of 34, aimed at preserving the unity of command in peacekeeping missions at all levels, as well as coherence in policy and strategy.
To strengthen United Nations peacekeeping, he underscored several critical areas, including that the exercise of mandates and the reform of peacekeeping should be carried out in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the universally recognized guidelines, namely, the consent of the parties, the non-use of force except in self-defence, total impartiality, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, and non-interference into their internal affairs. He also underlined the need for the Secretariat to provide the Security Council, troop- and police-contributing countries and other key stakeholders with an early assessment of capabilities, force-generating and logistical resource requirements prior to the launching of a new operation.
Also crucial was cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, which, among other benefits, would allow for full comprehension of the nature of the situation and assist the mission in achieving its objective. At the same time, peacekeeping could neither be a panacea to the problems of international peace and security nor a substitute for the local political process, which should be strengthened by national efforts of reconciliation and full realization of people’s potential. In order to achieve a sustainable peace, conflicts must be resolved at their root causes by engaging all involved parties based on dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes and by finding long-term solutions to the comprehensive political, security, economic and humanitarian dimensions of a given problem.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt), associating his statement with that made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that it was no longer sustainable for the troop-contributing countries to subsidize United Nations peacekeeping operations. Peacekeeping was passing through a crucial juncture as a result of the increased demand and the expansion and complexity of its tasks and mandates in dealing with responsibilities beyond the nature of its political and military roles. That also extended to its capabilities. All of those factors increased the burdens of the United Nations capacity, and of the ability of the troop and police contributors to achieve the desired goals.
The continuing increase in the activities of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, he said, required improved capacity to assess conflict situations, effective planning based on accurate information, and rapid response to emergencies in accordance with the provisions of the Charter. Peacekeeping operations should not be used as an alternative to addressing root causes nor managing the conflict, but must rather be based on a comprehensive and coherent vision to be implemented through political, social and developmental tools, in order to achieve and secure smooth transition to lasting peace, security and sustainable development.
He reiterated the importance of reaching consensus among Member States on the development of policies. All necessary support must be provided, including financial and human resources, as well as military and civilian capabilities, to peacekeeping missions in order to achieve their tasks within a framework respecting the host country. The Security Council must have a strong and clear commitment to draft clear and achievable mandates, and the contributors must fully participate in policy formulation. It was important to achieve deterrence without unjustified expansion in the capacity of peacekeeping officers to use force, while also preventing peacekeeping from turning to peace enforcement. Integration between peacekeeping and peacebuilding must be enhanced, so that peacekeeping efforts were accompanied by economic recovery and capacity-building efforts.
He stressed the importance of protecting civilians and the need for peacekeeping to support national efforts in that regard. The activities of police in operations should be supported as well, in light of their growing role and increasing responsibilities. Regional cooperation must be strengthened, and extensive consultations should be held on the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy. Egypt was one of the top troop-contributing countries and would continue to support peacekeeping.
ABUZIED SHAMSELDIN AHMED MOHAMED ( Sudan) aligned with the Non-Aligned Movement and said that his country had made several noteworthy achievements in peacekeeping operations. Sudan had organized free and fair elections in April 2010 under international and regional supervision; a peaceful referendum on self-determination had been organized; and Sudan had recognized South Sudan. Sudan was a model of cooperation with the United Nations peacekeeping operations and continued to cooperate with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), which had now moved to the second phase of deployment. The tripartite cooperation mechanism had led to positive results. There were considerable improvements in the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur, and murder rates had dropped. That was the result of the host country’s cooperation in enabling the United Nations to discharge its mission successfully.
The Government of Sudan, he stated, insisted that peacekeeping operations must be in keeping with the United Nations Charter and the principles of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The use of force must only be in self-defence, and there must be no harm to the relationship between host country and the mission.
He added that peacekeeping operations had changed over time. They were now multidimensional, humanitarian, police-military operations, but those changes must not prevent the addressing of root causes. Peacekeeping operations should not subvert political processes. In order to be successful, they must receive political support, have a focused mandate, and be accompanied by a clear and rapidly deployable exit strategy. Further, it was important to increase the number of national troops in peacekeeping operations and respect the commitments concerning the transport and premises used to host troops, as set down in international treaties and agreements.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO (Senegal) said that 115 countries had provided personnel to the United Nations Blue Helmets, whose numbers had increased nine-fold since 1999. Those men and women bore the heavy responsibility of keeping the peace, and the international community bowed its head before the memory of those who had paid the ultimate price for peace. The current level of deployment and the multidimensional nature of peacekeeping operations were unprecedented. While the United Nations Charter contained few provisions on peacekeeping operations, many included military, political, humanitarian and even peacebuilding elements. For that reason, all peacekeeping stakeholders must be speaking the same language and seek effectiveness, and he called for serious improvement of triangular dialogue.
He said that such practices were intended to ensure that all parties shouldered the responsibility at all levels. That was crucial for the Security Council to be able to define clear and objective mandates, objectives and tasks. The Secretariat must make available financial and logistical resources, and should enable peacekeeping operations to be carried out adequately. More visible financing, alongside voluntary contributions, should be considered, particularly from developed countries. With respect to troop-contributing countries, greater attention should be paid to training and preparing of peacekeeping operations.
Four of the eight peacekeeping operations deployed by the African Union and subregional organizations since 1989 had led to United Nations missions, one of which was UNAMID. The root causes of conflicts should be addressed, and greater thought should be given to implementing more coherent development policies. Preventative diplomacy backed up with early warning systems was crucial to all peacekeeping activities and could help to stem conflicts at their very genesis.
GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA (Nepal), aligning with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, said that irrespective of the sweeping changes in the international environment, peacekeeping remained a legitimate tool of the United Nations. Today’s multidimensional operations also involved civilian experts working on rule of law, transitional justice, judicial systems, and more. The increased demand on United Nations peacekeeping was a testimony to the confidence placed in the Organization and also to the diverse challenges with which it had to grapple. That trend had brought to the fore the critical issue of State sovereignty and consent. Greater understanding among Member States of those issues would strengthen peacekeeping operations.
He said that to make peacekeeping more effective, reform must be continuous. The operations must be a partnership, and responsibility must be shared among the General Assembly, Security Council, the contributors, regional partners, host countries, and the United Nations Secretariat, from mandate design to withdrawal. The peacekeeping strategy must help to stabilize security, support national political processes, and create an environment for economic development.
He added that, since 1958, Nepal had been contributing troops to United Nations peacekeeping as a mark of its deep commitment to the United Nations Charter and its obligations as a responsible member of the international community.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala), aligning his statement with those made on behalf of the Rio Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country had benefited from United Nations peacekeeping directly, especially in the areas of disarmament and reintegration, after the signing of peace agreements at the end of 1996. Guatemala had also actively participated in peacekeeping operations as a troop contributor, and had, therefore, been both a beneficiary of, and a provider to, United Nations peacekeeping. The nature of peacekeeping operations had changed over the years, especially since the Brahimi Report had been presented in 2000. Since then, the Secretariat had presented many reports on areas still requiring study, including children in armed conflict, protection of civilians, rule of law, and others.
Regarding the Global Field Support Strategy, he favoured the improvement of logistics and praised the work of Susana Malcorra and her team for their efforts to make sure Member States fully participated in the process. That level of interaction should be maintained. It was essential for all proposals to be analysed in detail on a case-by-case basis, and it was also important for peacekeeping operations to have clear verifiable mandates adapted to the situation of each case. The extension of mandates needed to take into account all available tools. To successfully apply the mandates of the Security Council, the gaps in resources must also be addressed. In peacekeeping operations, each country had a special contribution to make, and the skills offered by each troop-contributing country must be recognized and encouraged.
MARIA-VALESKA VIVAS ( Venezuela), aligning with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Rio Group, said that the challenges faced by peacekeeping missions made critical evaluation crucial. Peacekeeping operations had grown in the past two decades in both number of missions and deployed personnel. Their mandates, as established by the Security Council, were much more complex, which led to increased integration between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Venezuela, she added, believed that the achievement of the peacekeeping operation and the perception of the host country of that operation were fundamentally linked to the legitimacy of its mandate. It was crucial to adhere to the guiding principles of neutrality, consent of the parties, and use of force only in case of self-defence. The current gap between resources and capacity given to the troop contributors and the expectations generated by the mandate granted had given rise to undeniable tensions. That was also a product of the legal vacuum that made it impossible to de-limit the responsibilities of the States, which had the final responsibility for protecting civilians. It was important to ensure that peacekeeping operations continued to comply with the noble ends for which they were created. Their mandates must not jeopardize the complex relationship between actors representing the United Nations and their national counterparts.
HASAN SHAKAR ABU ALHASAN (Kuwait), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, paid tribute to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for its work in strengthening and revitalizing peacekeeping operations in light of current challenges. Peacekeeping operations played an invaluable role in building international peace and security in conflict zones. The international community must clearly define peacekeeping missions and objectives for all humanitarian missions, and must continue to have consultations and coordination between the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries. The international community must also provide financial and logistical support to peacekeeping operations and supply them with the technical means, in order to enable mandates to be discharged as effectively as possible. Field studies must also be carried out for peacekeeping requirements, be they training-related or technical. It was also necessary to strengthen the work of the United Nations in the area of preventative diplomacy and early warning. He appreciated Member States’ contribution to building United Nations capacity to implement and deploy the operations.
He said Kuwait contributed to the peacekeeping budget and had increased its contributions five-fold since the scale of assessments was revised in 2000. He said adequate resources were crucial to the success of peacekeeping operations, in keeping with the mandate entrusted by the United Nations. All Member States were duty-bound to respect their financial commitments. He condemned the attacks on peacekeepers wherever they took place, and insisted that all efforts be made to protect the security and safety of all peacekeeping agents, be they international civil servants, local staff, military personnel, or others. Those individuals frequently lay down their lives in the service of peace.
NEBIL SAID IDRIS (Eritrea), aligning with the Non-Aligned Movement’s statement, said that inter-State conflict, which used to be the main preoccupation of peacekeeping, was now superseded by intra-State conflicts. Blue Helmets had been charged with not only monitoring peace, but also the protection of civilians and the rebuilding of States. In order to ensure the effectiveness of future endeavours, it was imperative to comprehensively review the question of peacekeeping.
He stressed the need to uphold the sacrosanct principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, namely, sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity, and non-intervention. Peacekeeping should support the overall quest for peace and must not be viewed as a substitute to addressing the root causes of conflicts. The neutrality of peacekeeping operations must not be compromised. It was important that every peacekeeping operation secure the consent of the warring parties. In the absence of an agreement, peacekeeping forces would become unnecessarily engaged in internal conflicts. Eritrea also believed that regional organizations were important in the search for peace, but they could not replace the United Nations peacekeeping efforts. He emphasized that in many places, especially in Africa, caution was needed when deploying troops from neighbouring countries to avoid conflict of interest.
PNG YAN DA (Singapore) said his country had taken part in 15 peacekeeping observer missions since 1989, providing combat support, military observers and United Nations-sponsored electoral supervision. Given that each mission presented constantly changing issues on the ground and all were subjected to high expectations, he shared a number of observations. First, capacity development was one of the best ways to enable communities to emerge from conflict situations, and the international community’s investment in the development of basic infrastructure would help a country find its footing and return it to normalcy.
Further, he said, the protection of civilians should not be the sole responsibility of United Nations peacekeepers. Peacekeepers should work in tandem with host Governments and local communities to ensure that civilians were protected from conflict as much as possible, and training should be provided to peacekeepers and local authorities on what was expected of them, with sufficient resources available to ensure that civilians were adequately protected.
He was concerned with the rise in attacks on United Nations buildings and personnel in peacekeeping operations. “Some attacks may be sparked by the local rejection of any United Nations presence,” he said. “However, there are times when the presence of United Nations personnel is essential for effective security operations to be delivered. Steps are needed to ensure adequate protection and security for personnel so that they can perform the tasks expected of them.”
Additional emphasis should be given to women in post-conflict situations to ensure that both genders received equal attention in peacebuilding planning. A “one-size-fits-all” approach was insufficient, given that men and women had different needs.
HAIM ASSARAF, Director, Palestinian Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel, said it has never been more important to prioritize the objectives for each peacekeeping mission — and to look for new approaches to help them succeed. The Peacekeeping Department, as well as the Security Council, had called on more countries to contribute, and in the last three years, Israel had taken a few modest but important steps in response. After participating in the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) in 2008, Israel had sent a police unit to participate in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The first deployment of its kind by Israel, that unit consisted of 14 Israeli policemen with specialized capabilities in crowd control.
Israel was well aware of the challenging circumstances in which United Nations peacekeepers conducted their work, he said. One particular force that worked under difficult conditions was the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1701 in 2006, UNIFIL has served as an important force for stability along the Lebanese—Israeli border. It continued to play a significant role in implementing that resolution and preventing conflict. The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) also played a critical role in the region.
He was increasingly concerned at the growing obstruction of UNDOF’s movement in Syria, which was highlighted in the most recent Secretary-General’s report. During incidents last May and June, UNDOF had been violently attacked by demonstrators on the Syrian side of the border and its property destroyed. Such incidents impeded UNDOF from fulfilling its mandate. The Committee should be clear that violence towards peacekeeping forces was unacceptable. It should encourage the Syrian Government to do its outmost to fulfil its international obligations and ensure the safety of peacekeepers.
ONON SODOV, Director of the Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia, associating herself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that her country attached great importance to United Nations peacekeeping, as that was a key instrument of United Nations efforts to maintain international peace and security — the prime goal of the United Nations. Recent years had witnessed significant growth of Mongolia’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping; it had contributed troops, contingent-owned equipment, military observers and staff officers to seven peacekeeping operations in various hotspots. Responding to the growing role of the police contingents and civilian elements, Mongolia had also contributed a level II hospital to UNAMID. The decision had also been made recently at the national level to contribute troops to United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the newly established operation in the South Sudan, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
She noted with satisfaction that United Nations peacekeeping operations had achieved successes in many areas; however, there remained areas to be addressed in order to improve and support peacekeeping. Mongolia joined fellow Member States in calling for filling the gaps in financial and logistical resources, equipment, capabilities and other necessary means as United Nations peacekeeping surged and its scope evolved in today’s complex environment. Safety and security of the personnel in the field were an absolute priority. In that, Mongolia had decided to contribute a security unit to UNAMI. Protection of civilians in the field was a moral imperative. It was critical to save lives, reduce risks for the affected population, and re-think the political rationale for any violence. Reflecting those aspects in missions’ mandates could directly help to protect civilians.
VICTOR MUNOZ ( Peru) supported the statements made on behalf of the Rio Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, and said developments in peacekeeping operations had been on such a scale that the whole international community could now recognize that the operations were multidimensional in nature. It was necessary to articulate and support consensus of actors in the international community, facilitate peacebuilding activities, and provide support for social and economic reconstruction and institution building. That was an indispensable function and could be seen as part of the current work of peacekeeping operations, which demonstrated that missions could integrate the dimension of security and development, either through peacekeeping activities, early peacebuilding or peacebuilding itself.
He said it was of great importance for the Secretariat and Member States, particularly troop-contributing countries, to coordinate closely on implementation of the field support strategy, to preserve the efficiency and effectiveness of contingents in the field. Ownership of peacekeeping was important by the host country, and the State institutions and capacity should be strengthened so they could solve conflicts. There was also a growing role for regional and international organizations. The much-desired dividends of peace and stability were the cherished objectives of any peacekeeping operation. Also necessary was an ongoing assessment of peacekeeping operations, in which the Committee of 34 played a primary role. The role of other actors — the Security Council, the Peacebuilding Commission, the Economic and Social Council or others — could not be overlooked, and a greater interaction among those bodies should be promoted. In MINUSTAH, recently renewed, efforts were made to respond to the urgent reconstruction needs of the people in Haiti, keeping in mind the resource constraints.
IHAB AHMED (Syria), associating his statement with that of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping operations were the chief way for the United Nations to discharge its responsibility of maintaining peace. The United Nations Charter underscored the importance of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the various parties, and peacekeeping operations must also scrupulously respect those principles. The implementation of those principles implied the prior consent of host countries. Syria wished to point out that there had been repeated attempts to circumvent those, which, in turn, had undermined the credibility of peacekeeping missions.
Syria, he added, had always supported efforts to reform peacekeeping operations at all levels. But, peacekeeping operations were no substitute for finding sustainable solutions to conflict. Thus, the missions must be accompanied by a durable effort to preserve peace. Moreover, a number of operations currently under way were meant to protect civilians. Syria reiterated that the main responsibility for that lay with host countries.
The first peacekeeping operation in the Middle East, begun in 1948, was still under way, he said. Although peacekeeping operations were designed to be temporary, the missions in the Middle East had been in place for decades now. That had been the result of the occupation of Palestinian Territory by Israel in violation of international law. Among other things, maintaining the missions was adversely impacting the United Nations peacekeeping budget. The international community must exert pressure on Israel to cease aggression against Arab people.
Concluding, he stated that Syria appreciated the sacrifices made by peacekeeping personnel worldwide, especially anti-mine personnel and those who served in the Middle East. Syria paid tribute to the women and men who served in the peacekeeping operations — for their devotion, courage and professionalism.
VINCENT NYAKARUNDI ( Rwanda), aligning with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said Rwanda had many peacekeepers serving in missions around the world. Operations were growing more and more complex and far-reaching as mandates expanded. It was important to support the well-being of the peacekeepers in every context. The mandates must take into consideration not only what was expected, but what could realistically be accomplished on the ground; better defined mandates would improve peacekeepers’ ability to carry out their tasks. Mandates must also include exit strategies. Peacekeepers also needed to be better equipped to handle the dangerous tasks they undertook daily. Considering the horrific attacks on them, their safety and security was a mutual concern that the international community must all work towards achieving.
He said sufficient resources were a key requirement for a successful peacekeeping mission. He supported the protection of civilians, and peacekeepers must be adequately prepared to do so. He looked forward to further addressing that issue in the near future by the Senior Advisory Group. Reflection was also called for on women’s greater representation in all areas of peacekeeping. He commended efforts made so far, as Rwanda was itself a pioneer in women’s equality.
MACHARIA KAMAU ( Kenya) said that his country was cognizant of the fact that regional and subregional organizations were increasingly taking the central role in conflict resolutions. The African Union, for instance, was fully involved in resolving conflicts in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan. However, for the Union to succeed in that endeavour, its capacity must be enhanced through sustained financing. Kenya urged the international community to extend the necessary support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), with a view to “re‑hatting” it to a United Nations peacekeeping operation or a hybrid mission, such as the one in Darfur.
Kenya was concerned, he stated, about the outstanding dues and low rates of reimbursements to troop-contributing countries. Though there were some improvements, the process needed more review to eliminate the inherent delays. The current reimbursement rates were at variance with the economic realities of the day. Further, while troop contribution was a laudable commitment, quality troops were more desirable than numbers. Standardized pre-deployment training modules were necessary, therefore, and the International Peace Support Training Centre in Kenya would continue to partner with the United Nations Office of Integrated Training Services.
On the subject of women personnel, he stated that their low numbers in United Nations peacekeeping missions was a betrayal of the spirit of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). As cases of rape and sexual molestation against women and girls in conflict areas were on the rise, the role of women personnel was becoming more critical. Kenya was ready to partner with the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support to run a pilot course on integrating a gender perspective into the work of the military.
* *** *