Thursday, April 1, 2010

Peace Keeping of UN


UN peacekeepers are sent to various regions where armed conflict has recently ceased, or temporarily frozen, in order to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage the combatants from resuming hostilities, for example in East Timor until its independence in 2001. These forces are provided by member states of the UN, and participation in peace keeping operations in optional; at this point only 2 nations, Canada and Portugal, have participated in all peacekeeping operations. The UN does not maintain any independent military. All UN peacekeeping operations must be approved by the Security Council. The founders of the UN had envisaged that the UN would act to prevent conflicts between nations and make future wars impossible. Those hopes have not been fully realized. During the Cold War (from about 1945 until 1991), the division of the world into hostile camps made peacekeeping agreement extremely difficult. Following the end of the Cold War, there were renewed calls for the UN to become the agency for achieving world peace, as several dozen military conflicts continue to rage around the globe. But the break-up of the Soviet Union also left the U. S. in a unique position of global dominance, creating a variety of new challenges for the UN.

The UN Peace-Keeping Forces (called the Blue Helmets) received the 1988 Nobel Prize for Peace. In 2001, the UN and Secretary General Kofi Annanwon the Nobel Peace Prize “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world the UN maintains a series of United Nations Medals awarded to military service members who enforce UN accords. The first such decoration issued was the United Nations Service Medal, awarded to UN forces who participated in the Korean War The NATO Medal is designed on a similar concept and both are considered international decorations instead of military decorations.

Peacekeeping assessments

A large share of UN expenditures addresses the core UN mission of peace and security. The peacekeeping budget for the 2005 – 2006 fiscal year is approximately $5 billion (compared to approximately $1.5 billion for the UN core budget over the same period), with some 70,000 troops deployed in 17 missions around the world. UN peace operations are funded by assessments, using a formula derived from the regular funding scale, but including a weighted surcharge for the five permanent Security Council members, who must approve all peacekeeping operations. This surcharge serves to offset discounted peacekeeping assessment rates for less developed countries. In December 2000, the UN revised the assessment rate scale for the regular budget and for peacekeeping. The peacekeeping scale is designed to be revised every six months and was projected to be near 27% in 2003. The US intends to pay peacekeeping assessments at these lower rates and has sought legislation for the US congress to allow payment at these rates to make payments towards arrears.

Success in security issues

The Human Security Report 2005 produced by the Human Security Centre at the University of British Columbia with support from several governments and foundations, documented a dramatic, but largely unrecognized, decline in the number of wars, genocides and human rights abuses since the end of the Cold War. Statistics include: a 40% drop in violent conflict; an 80% drop in the most deadly conflicts; and an 80% drop in genocide and politicide. The report argued that international activism – mostly spearheaded by the UN – has been the main cause of the post-Cold War decline in armed conflict, though the report indicated the evidence for this contention is mostly circumstantial.

In the area of Peacekeeping, successes include: The US Government Accountability Office concluded that UN Peacekeeping is eight times less expensive than funding a US force. A 2005 RAND Corp study found the UN to be successful in two out of three peacekeeping efforts. It also compared UN nation-building efforts to those of the US, and found that of eight UN cases, seven are at peace, whereas of eight US cases, four are at peace.

Failures in security issues

In many cases UN members have shown reluctance to achieve or enforce Security Council resolutions. Iraq is said to have broken 17 Security Council resolutions dating back to June 28, 1991 as well as trying to bypass the UN economic sanctions For nearly a decade, Israel delayed implementing resolutions calling for the dismantling of Jewish communities in “occupied territories”. Such failures stem from the UN’s intergovernmental nature – in many respects it is an association of 192 member states who must reach consensus, not an independent organization. Even when actions are mandated by the 15-member Security Council, the Secretariat is rarely given the full resources needed to carry out the mandates.

Other serious security failures include: Failure to prevent the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which resulted in the killings of nearly a million people, due to the refusal of Security Council members to approve any military action. Failure by MONUC (UNSC Resolution 1291) to effectively intervene during the Second Congo War, which claimed nearly five million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 1998-2002, and in carrying out and distributing humanitarian aid. Failure to intervene in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre: despite the fact that the UN designated Srebrenica a “safe haven” for refugees and assigned 600 Dutch peacekeepers to protect it, the peacekeeping force was not authorised to use force. Failure to successfully deliver food to starving people in Somalia; the food was instead usually seized by local warlords. A US/UN attempt to apprehend the warlords seizing these shipments resulted in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu. Failure to implement the provisions of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701 calling for disarmament of Lebanese paramilitary groups such as Fatah and Hezbollah. Allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers during UN peacekeeping missions in Congo Haiti Liberia, and Sudan.


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