Skip to main content
GA/PK/138

TREND OF LOANED, SUBSIDIZED PERSONNEL IN PEACE-KEEPING INCOMPATIBLE WITH CHARTER SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON PEACE-KEEPING TOLD

2 April 1996


Press Release
GA/PK/138


TREND OF LOANED, SUBSIDIZED PERSONNEL IN PEACE-KEEPING INCOMPATIBLE WITH CHARTER SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON PEACE-KEEPING TOLD

19960402 Ghana Says 'Artificial Financial Crisis' Should Not Distort Priorities

The recent and increasing trend to have Department of Peace-keeping Operations personnel paid by their home countries and for the salaries of some staff members to be supplemented by their home governments was incompatible with the United Nations Charter and Staff Regulations, the representative of Ghana told the Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations, as it continued its general debate this morning.

"At a time when the axe is being wielded over personnel numbers in the Secretariat because of an artificial financial crisis, it would be most unfortunate if we were to allow the phenomenon of loaned and subsidized personnel to distort our priorities and unjustifiably expose personnel from developing countries", he said.

A Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Emilio J. Cardenas (Argentina), said the example of Haiti demonstrated that rapid and coordinated action by a group of States -- with Security Council authorization -- could end the oppression of the lives and rights of an entire people. Given all the ill-intentioned criticism of United Nations activities, perhaps the United Nations should be more aggressive in showing the importance of its peace-keeping operations.

The observer from Malaysia said membership of the Special Committee should be open to facilitate the participation of all Member States. Regional organizations should play an increasingly important role in United Nations peace-keeping operations. It was important to promote standardized programmes for training both military and non-military personnel.

At the opening of the meeting, the Committee agreed to allow the following countries to participate as observers: Cyprus, Kenya, Lithuania, Namibia, South Africa and Uruguay.

The representatives of Ukraine and Zimbabwe also make statements.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today.

Special Committee Work Programme

The Special Committee on Peace-Keeping Operations met this morning to continue its general debate on the question of peace-keeping operations in all its aspects. Under the mandate entrusted to it by General Assembly resolution 50/30 of 22 December 1995, the Committee was also to review the implementation of its previous proposals and consider new proposals so as to enhance the capacity of the United Nations to fulfil its peace-keeping responsibilities. (For more information, see Press Release GA/PK/137 of 1 April.)

Statements

JACK B. WILMOT (Ghana) said that more than 80 of its citizens had died in United Nations peace-keeping operations. Ghana also paid its assessed contributions to the regular and peace-keeping budgets on time. It was one of the West African countries which had initiated the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) effort to send peace-keepers to Liberia. There were other countries, like Ghana, which played a significant role in United Nations peace-keeping but had only a peripheral role -- as observers -- in the work of the Committee. Therefore, like other countries of the Non-Aligned Movement, Ghana was calling for an expansion of the Committee's membership.

The recent and increasing trend of the Department of Peace-keeping Operations personnel to be paid by their home countries was a cause for concern, he said. That trend, together with the indication that the salaries of some staff members were topped up by their home governments, was incompatible with the United Nations Charter and Staff Regulations. "We do not see how such personnel, paid by external sponsors, can remain loyal to the Organization and fail to heed the instructions of their patrons." The Committee and the general membership of the United Nations should take immediate actions to correct this problem. "At a time when the axe is being wielded over personnel numbers in the Secretariat because of an artificial financial crisis, it would be most unfortunate if we were to allow the phenomenon of loaned and subsidized personnel to distort our priorities and unjustifiably expose personnel from developing countries."

He also called on the Secretariat to streamline administrative procedures to ensure prompt reimbursement of troop and equipment contributors. He expressed the hope that the new scales for death and disability compensation would soon be put into effect. He lauded the recent creation of the Lessons Learned Unit and also the recent practice of consultations among troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the secretariat on peace-keeping issues.

SUBRAMANIAM THANARAJASINGAM (Malaysia) said, as an observer, his country hoped the Special Committee would accept the proposal of the Non-Aligned Movement that the Committee be open-ended to facilitate the participation of

Peace-keeping Operations Committee - 3 - Press Release GA/PK/138 134th Meeting (AM) 2 April 1996

all Member States. The Committee should arrive at a consensus on the matter. Malaysia and Canada were currently hosting in Kuala Lumpur a three-day Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional forum on peace- keeping. Regional organizations should play an increasingly important role in peace-keeping operations of the United Nations. At the same time, the important role of the United Nations could not be minimized or simply ignored. The Organization should continue to provide leadership, as well as play the central role in peace-keeping. United Nations operations should have clear implementable mandates and should undergo rigorous scrutiny. Malaysia looked forward to a frank report from the Lessons Learned Unit of the Department of Peace-keeping Operations.

Malaysia had joined more than 50 countries in committing itself to participation in the stand-by arrangement, he continued. The proposal for a rapidly deployable headquarters deserved support, he said, adding that the term "headquarters", however, was a misnomer. The rapidly deployable unit should consist of personnel from as many countries as possible, including the developing ones. Financial resources should be made available to facilitate their participation. He also underlined the importance of early warning and preventive diplomacy. Initiatives to eliminate the seeds of conflict at an early stage should be seriously looked into. The Security Council, which primarily authorized the establishment of peace-keeping operations, suffered, among others, from a credibility gap among developing countries. Those countries were wary of the Secretariat's ability to collate information for early warning as they were unsure about its eventual utilization.

He reiterated the urgency for all Member States, particularly the major ones, to pay up their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions. Efforts should also be made to reimburse promptly troop- contributing countries, particularly the developing ones. No funds should be diverted to peace-keeping operations at the expense of development activities. Training was important for both the military and non-military personnel for peace-keeping operations, which should be carried out in close collaboration with Member States to promote standardized programmes.

ANATOLI M.ZLENKO (Ukraine) said parties to conflicts should comply with cease-fire agreements and to cooperate fully and in good faith. The success of any peace-keeping operation was based on the development of a clear and comprehensive concept of deployment and implementation. The concept should contain definite and realistic objectives and goals of the operation, indicate specific coordination mechanisms and give a mandate that would prevent using double standards during its implementation.

In regional approaches to peace-keeping operations, he said United Nations activities should be based on the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter and should comply strictly with the principle whereby no State might arrogate to itself the right to claim to be the main guarantor of peace and

Peace-keeping Operations Committee - 4 - Press Release GA/PK/138 134th Meeting (AM) 2 April 1996

security in a region. He called for institutional integration into the Department of Political Affairs of the unit of professional conflict resolution experts. A principal function could be search for, and development of specific approaches to settlement of specific conflict situations. He said more than 7,000 Ukrainian troops had finished "Blue Helmets' school" during a very short period of Ukraine's participation in United Nations peace-keeping operations. In the last three months, the Ukrainian Parliament had authorized participation of a bridging company in UNAVEM III, as well as providing a military contingent of 500 servicemen to the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES). Thus by 15 April, a total of 680 Ukrainian citizens would be serving in seven United Nations peace-keeping operations.

He called for condemnation of the use of snipers against peace-keeping personnel and indiscriminate attacks against civilians in the zone of conflict. Such attacks could be regarded as a legitimate ground for the use of force by United Nations peace-keeping contingents, he said. Ukraine supported the development of specific measures to improve and strengthen the system of stand-by arrangements. The United Nations should actively pursue dialogue with Member States participating in that system. The Organization's capacity to maintain stand-by arrangements and rapid reaction capability was also important in terms of preventing conflicts and crisis situations. He said the main criteria for expanding the membership of the Special Committee should be practical contribution of States to United Nations peace-keeping efforts.

NGONI FRANCIS SENGWE (Zimbabwe) commended the efforts of the Permanent Representative of Botswana to the United Nations, Legwaila J. Legwaila, who, as President of the Security Council in February, had provided an opportunity to Member States to express their views regarding the situation in Somalia. That situation "had conveniently been sunk into oblivion". Although Member States had deployed massive resources, far beyond those mandated by the Security Council, towards certain peace-keeping missions, they had, on the other hand, withdrawn even the basic minimum presence from other conflict areas. "It is our firm conviction that all conflicts, no matter where they may be, should received the same treatment by the organ that has the responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security."

Recruitment for the Department of Peace-keeping Operations should be broad and reflect the geographical distribution of the Organization, he said. The methodology for funding the support account should be reviewed, taking into account post-operational activities such as the disposal of assets and processing of financial claims. Peace-keeping operations on the verge of success -- such as the United Nations Human Rights Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) and the International Civilian Mission to Haiti

Peace-keeping Operations Committee - 5 - Press Release GA/PK/138 134th Meeting (AM) 2 April 1996

(MICIVIH) -- should not be jeopardized by Member States' reluctance to provide additional resources. "We cannot put a price tag on peace."

He welcomed the establishment of the Lessons Learned Unit; however, the Unit should not depend on trust funds. It should have regular and predictable funding. Zimbabwe had offered to pay local costs for activities related to the Lessons Learned Unit in the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III).

EMILIO J. CARDENAS (Argentina) said the United Nations should only use force in exceptional circumstances; however, there were times when the Security Council could call on Member States to engage in actions to impose peace. The example of Haiti showed that rapid and coordinated action by a group of States -- with Security Council authorization -- could end the oppression of the lives and rights of an entire people.

He supported the proposal for the establishment of a United Nations stand-by brigade, capable of being rapidly deployed wherever necessary, pending the organization of a more extensive peace-keeping mission. There should be a headquarters for overseeing the rapid deployment of peace-keepers. The United Nations should maintain stand-by reserves of matériel held over from other peace-keeping operations, and sufficient resources should be provide to maintain and safeguard that matériel. He expressed support for a proposal to keep in place a permanent core peace-keeping staff the size of which would not be dependent of the size of existing peace-keeping missions.

Given all the attacks and ill-intentioned criticism of United Nations activities, the area of public information was more important than ever before, he said. Perhaps the United Nations should be more aggressive in trying to show what an important role its peace-keeping operations played.

He said the declaration of the President of the Security Council on 28 March, regarding consultations between the Council and troop-contributing countries, was a step in the right direction. Those countries had both the right and the obligation to share with the Council their views on what was happening in peace-keeping operations. Membership of the Special Committee should be expanded to include all Member States which had contributed or were contributing troops, services or equipment to peace-keeping operations.

IBRAHIM A. GAMBARI (Nigeria), Committee Chairman, reminded Member States which were not members of the Special Committee and who wished to participate as observers to submit their requests in writing as soon as possible. He reiterated that the Committee would conclude its general debate tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday, 3 April.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.