TROOP-CONTRIBUTING COUNTRIES OFFER GUIDANCE AS FOURTH COMMITTEE BEGINS REVIEW OF UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
Sixty-first General Assembly
14th Meeting (PM)
TROOP-CONTRIBUTING COUNTRIES OFFER GUIDANCE AS FOURTH COMMITTEE
BEGINS REVIEW OF UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
Effectiveness in Many Areas Noted, Despite Obstacles;
Stronger Regional Cooperation, Increase in Management Staffing Urged
Interregional cooperation, United Nations operations in Lebanon and questions regarding the representation and responsibilities of troop-contributing countries were among the key issues taken up by the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), which began its general debate on peacekeeping operations today.
Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Morocco’s representative said peacekeeping operations had to abide by the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, namely consent of parties, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defence, as well as respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of all States. Peacekeeping operations should not be used as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict.
Many delegates commented on the need for close partnerships in peacekeeping operations. South Africa’s representative said regional arrangements were important, as they gave practical expression to the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter. The African Union continued to be involved in peacekeeping operations in the region, despite a lack of resources; he appreciated the assistance of the United Nations in developing its peacekeeping capabilities.
The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said member States of the Union had collectively contributed nearly 40 per cent of the peacekeeping budget and were also quickly developing their role as troop contributors. Only by close cooperation with related partners could effectiveness in peacekeeping be maintained. The United Nations was currently working at the limit of its capability. She, therefore, welcomed the fact that regional organizations were increasingly involved in solving regional conflicts.
Other delegates noted the fast deployment of troops to strengthen the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The representative of Norway said the deployment of the maritime task force of UNIFIL had demonstrated the wide spectrum of tasks faced by the Organization. The deployment had probably been one of the fastest in history. That demonstrated a renewed commitment to the United Nations by European nations, which in turn presented a unique opportunity to re-engage western nations in United Nations-led peacekeeping.
The representative from Syria, however, recalled that the killing of UNIFIL personnel last July had been the result of Israeli aggression. Peace had become more illusive, he said, in part because of Israeli defiance of resolutions. The responsibility for financing peacekeeping operations should be borne by the aggressor, he said.
Several delegates addressed the relationship between troop-contributing countries and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Brazil’s representative said the first step in addressing the surge in peacekeeping operations should be to bring the Secretariat ever closer to the troop-contributing countries. Almost 9 in 10 peacekeepers were nationals of developing countries. Together with their contribution to the missions, came the need to have a say in their structure. The security of troops, police and civilians should be a priority. Another important measure was to ensure that reimbursement for troop-contributing countries was processed and paid in an efficient, transparent manner. Due regard should be increasingly paid to a better geographical balance of the staff in charge of peacekeeping.
The representative of Bangladesh said the success of a peacekeeping mission hinged on a well-coordinated tripartite partnership and sustained consultation between the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Full participation by the troop-contributing countries in every stage of the decision making and planning of the peacekeeping missions must be institutionalized. The challenge was to dovetail peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding into a service of seamless progression of complementary activities. That must be essentially local, though buttressed by external support.
Representatives of Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Guyana (on behalf of the Rio Group), Russian Federation, Brazil, Thailand, Kenya, Mali and Canada (also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand) also spoke.
The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 23 October, to continue its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects and to take action on draft texts relating to outer space issues.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to continue its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all its aspects.
RAN GIDOR ( Israel) said that in 2006, Israeli officers had participated for the first time in peacekeeping courses organized by Department of Peacekeeping Operations. That was another major step in the process of Israel integrating itself into the “full canopy” of United Nations-sponsored operations around the world. His country was interested in contributing some of its hard-won military experience and technical proficiency in order to assist peacekeeping activities. He hoped his country’s contributions to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations could be expanded in the form of military observers, police training or through putting hi-tech units such as in forensic science –- in which due to the country’s unfortunate geo-political circumstances, it had accumulated unparalleled expertise -- at the disposal of the Department.
He said he hoped Israel’s lessons learned as a result of war and in the fight against terrorism could be utilized in order to promote and sustain peace. His country was currently engaged in the process of analyzing the experience of the first few Israeli graduates of peacekeeping courses; it was looking forward to consolidating its cooperation with Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the near future.
SAADIA EL ALAOUI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Movement had consistently maintained that peacekeeping operations had to abide by the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, namely consent of parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence as well as respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of all States. Peacekeeping operations should not be used as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict. Consideration should be given by the United Nations to the manner by which the root causes were addressed without interruption after the departure of peacekeeping operations.
She said primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security rested with the United Nations, and the role of regional arrangements should be in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter. She said she welcomed the proposal of a dedicated capacity within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, which could help in addressing the systematic constraints identified by African Member States. Concerned at the high number of casualties of peacekeepers, she called for the development of clear guidelines and procedures for information-sharing between the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries regarding safety and security issues. Technology and capacities in Headquarters and in the field needed to be significantly improved.
She said the Non-Aligned Movement continued to call for a full implementation of the United Nations policy of zero tolerance regarding conduct and discipline issues, including of sexual exploitation and abuse. Close consultations should prevail between Member States and the Secretariat, in order to ensure that their views were fully taken into account in the ongoing process to address the issue, and that uniform standards were applicable for all Member States.
To address effectively the ongoing surge in peacekeeping, efforts should also be directed towards laying down the foundations of a sustainable peace through a wide range of peacebuilding activities. The Peacebuilding Commission should play a decisive role in bringing greater awareness and support to long term peacebuilding. As for the proposed recruitment of civilian cadre personnel, the Non-Aligned Movement reiterated the need for balanced and fair geographical representation.
HARON HASSAN (Jordan), aligning himself with Morocco’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, noted the increase in peacekeeping operations and said the reform agenda needed to be pushed forward. He stressed the importance of restoring the rule of law in peacekeeping operations, especially in the early stages, and it should be given priority. He said Jordan welcomed the holistic approach to peacekeeping operations of the Department, noting its attention to its standing police capacity. Jordan looked forward to participating in it. He applauded the efforts of the Department to improve monitoring from the ground, but technological capacity needed improvement.
On sexual exploitation in United Nations peacekeeping operations, he said Jordan looked forward to a new and comprehensive strategy on victims. The working environment in Ethiopia was not encouraging and he asked the Security Council to help improve the situation. Jordan was disappointed with the quality of meetings between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries. The meetings were not intended to be briefing but, rather, frank discussions between the parties on areas of concern.
He reiterated that all Member States should pay contributions in a way that reaffirmed their responsibilities under article 17 of the Charter, bearing in mind the special responsibilities of Security Council members. He said Jordan looked forward to substantive discussion on peacekeeping in 2007, when he hoped ideas on all issues would be explored.
SABELO MAQUNGO ( South Africa), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the maintenance of international peace and security rested with the United Nations. Regional arrangements were important as they gave practical expression to the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter. The African Union continued to be involved in peacekeeping operations in the region, despite a lack of resources; he appreciated the assistance of the United Nations in developing its peacekeeping capabilities. The allocation of resources to peacekeeping operations should be commensurate with the demands and challenges in the field. The fact that there were only 12 planners for a deployed force of approximately 100,000 troops had to change.
He said rapid response capacity was still a major factor inhibiting United Nations peacekeeping operations; there was the inherent problem associated with current standby arrangements. The concept should be critically examined. Peacekeepers continued to work in dangerous situations, as shown by the 72 fatalities in the current year. He called on all parties, groups and factions, where United Nations peacekeepers were deployed, to refrain from engaging in acts including incitement that had the potential of endangering those United Nations personnel. He welcomed the establishment of Joint Operation Centres and the Joint Mission Analysis Centre and underlined the importance of the sharing of information between troop-contributing countries and field commanders.
Addressing the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping personnel, he said his Government had made significant progress in developing training programmes as a preventative measure to shape the attitudes of deployed personnel. The United Nations could not continue to deal with criminality by peacekeepers in a piecemeal fashion, prevention was better than a cure. The Department should continue with its efforts to implement the prevention aspects of its comprehensive strategy.
He said peacekeeping was an interim measure aimed at laying the foundation for sustainable peace and security; the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission should ensure that the United Nations adopt an integrated approach that would not only provide for conflict prevention and management, but also for development of social institutions that were necessary to address development challenges.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), aligning himself with Morocco’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping was the United Nations flagship activity. The surge in demand for peacekeeping operations was a vote of confidence for the Organization. The nature and scope of peacekeeping had evolved, with multi-dimensional missions increasingly being deployed, especially in complex crises which had inter-linked security, military, political, economic, social and humanitarian dimensions.
Among the challenges, he said was the growing requirement for well-equipped peacekeepers, and for effective management, organization and planning, among other things. Pakistan looked forward to continued talks on those issues. Addressing the challenges required ensuring the political commitment of Member States to United Nations peacekeeping, providing adequate and timely resources, continued reform in the field and Headquarters and a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Political support to strengthen United Nations capacity to play its role was needed, he said, stressing that such support should evoke non-discriminatory treatment from the Secretariat. On the provision of resources, the human cost was borne by troop-contributing countries. Better management in all peacekeeping activities was needed, with reform involving all relevant actors. Specific benchmarks were also needed to evaluate progress on reform proposals. Further, international focus must be on conflict prevention, with a more active role for the United Nations. Regarding the civilian peacekeeping cadre, the aim should be to equip the United Nations with adequate capacity. On implementing the zero-tolerance policy on sexual offences, Pakistan would work with other delegations to find agreement on all standards, policies and strategies.
ROMAN HUNGER ( Switzerland) said his country welcomed improvements made in the working methods of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, but remained concerned at the risk of the proliferation of meetings which were not properly prepared. Switzerland remained committed to the Department’s reform agenda and the five priority areas: partnerships, doctrine, personnel, organization and resources. It was essential to develop coordinated and standardized training and behaviour modules to ensure the credibility of all operations. He supported the continuation of determined efforts to implement measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse.
He said Switzerland remained unwavering in its support for the creation of a Standing Police Capacity and would like to see the recruiting process completed by the end of the year. The success of peacekeeping operations depended to a great extent on the efficient mobilization and rapid deployment of resources. The action undertaken in the context of the crisis in Lebanon proved the importance of such a mobilization process. The creation of enhanced, rapidly deployable capacities to reinforce United Nations peacekeeping operations in crises was essential. The three options discussed by the Committee of 34 were realistic.
He said it was essential for all strategic partners, military and civilian, to cooperate in a transparent and constructive way, with respect for humanitarian imperatives, neutrality and impartiality. Too many missions still failed to benefit from a common strategic vision. Nor was there sufficient coherence between efforts to stabilize security and efforts in the area of humanitarian assistance and development. He called upon the Special Committee to address those issues. He also called for close cooperation between the Committee of 34 and the Peacebuilding Commission, as well as between Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Support Office. He hoped that the Peacebuilding Commission would help to clarify concepts, to develop joint strategies, and facilitate better coordination and greater synergies between the various actors in the field.
YERZHAN KAZYKHANOV ( Kazakhstan) said United Nations peacekeeping operations were the most effective tool in preventing and settling crises, with the 2005 World Summit declaring that peacekeepers should be in a position to respond effectively to emerging challenges. Demand for peacekeeping was growing each year, and enhanced police contingents were needed to strengthen missions that operated in crisis situations. He said the adoption of a coherent concept of peacekeeping partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations could facilitate efforts of all parties to develop a coordinated partnership system. On effective mobilization of available resources and the establishment of a rapid deployment mechanism, Kazakhstan believed proposals should be implemented to establish a standing police capacity and strategic reserve force.
On misconduct and abuse by peacekeeping personnel in field missions, including sexual misconduct, he said Kazakhstan applauded preventive action being taken to correct the situation. His Government firmly supported efforts to reinforce United Nations peacekeeping capacity. He reiterated Kazakhstan’s readiness, as a member of the United Nations Standby Arrangements System, to provide personnel and armoured vehicles, among other things. Kazakhstan had fulfilled its financial obligations in a timely manner and made regular contributions to its peacekeeping budgets.
MONA JUUL ( Norway) said the surge in peacekeeping operations put an unprecedented strain on the resources of the Secretariat and of Member States, which must ensure that the United Nations successfully managed the increased activity, both to protect the people in the countries concerned and to uphold the credibility of the United Nations. The deployment of the maritime task force of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) demonstrated the wide spectrum of tasks faced by the Organization. The deployment had probably been one of the fastest in history. That demonstrated a renewed commitment to the United Nations by European nations, which in turn presented a unique opportunity to re-engage Western nations in United Nations-led peacekeeping. Participation in UNIFIL had marked the first step in her Government’s increased commitment to United Nations peacekeeping; it planned to make Darfur the second step.
She said the Secretariat and the military planning and operational capacities were of key importance to peacekeeping. The fact that the military component remained a crucial element of most operations, especially during the initial phase, was not reflected in the present set-up of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. If one failed to address that real problem, the surge in United Nations peacekeeping might have catastrophic consequences in the field. The United Nations would be unable to create the stability expected, and the security of personnel on the ground would be weakened. The system should be made more flexible. The Force Commander should be given greater authority regarding operational decisions to achieve his or her mandate.
Partnership with other organizations must remain a priority, she said. She strongly supported cooperation between NATO, the United Nations and the African Union. She also supported the ongoing efforts to enhance African peacekeeping capabilities. Her country was actively engaged in a dialogue with the African Union on possible support for the development of the civilian dimension of the African stand-by force. Increased use of formed police units was another indication of the United Nations capacity to adapt its concept of operations. Implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security must be kept firmly in focus. Swift action must be taken to ensure the inclusion of gender expertise in mainstream decision-making processes, at Headquarters and in the field. She was concerned at the low number of women in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ senior management positions.
BIBI ALI (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the RIO Group of countries, reaffirmed that peacekeeping operations were one of the main tools contributing to the promotion of human rights and development. In that context, every effort should be made to bring to justice those who abused and victimized the very people they were sent to protect. The Rio Group remained unequivocal in supporting the Secretary General’s policy of zero tolerance for sexual abuse and exploitation. In that regard, she recommended that the capacity of the Office of Internal Oversight Services be strengthened.
The reform plan instituted in 2000 had created improvements. It was important for peacekeeping missions to have a clear mandate and in that regard, she noted progress in developing principles and policies for United Nations peacekeeping. There should be enhanced cooperation with troop-contributing countries.
She strongly recommended that partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations be enhanced to adapt to the changing nature of conflict. She commended efforts to enhance African peacekeeping capacities. On Haiti, she said the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti played a key role in facilitating peace, the establishment of key governance institutions and support for long term development in that country. Her delegation was further encouraged that Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office of Human Resources Management had taken steps to make the process of recruiting civilian personnel more effective.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY ( Bangladesh) said his country’s association with United Nations peacekeeping operations, dating back to the 1980s, was testimony to its unswerving commitment to maintain international peace and security. Bangladesh had contributed around 58,000 peacekeepers to 37 missions. It stood ready to contribute more. As the role of peacekeepers was getting increasingly complex and risky, their safety and security had assumed overriding importance. He welcomed the Department’s efforts to adopt an integrated approach in that regard. As many as 80 Bangladeshi peacekeepers had made the supreme sacrifice in their line of duty.
He said he was heartened by the institutionalization of the process of peacebuilding through the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission and its Support Office, and the most recent launching of the Peacebuilding Fund. Throughout the peacebuilding process, it would be important to create “peace constituencies”; middle-range actors such as teachers, lawyers and religious leaders could often function as links between the grass roots and elite levels. Partnerships among all the stakeholders, such as the non-governmental organizations and civil society, would be a sine qua non towards peacebuilding. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Bangladeshi economist Professor Muhammad Yunus had illustrated the linkage between poverty alleviation and peace, which, he said, was the thesis of the paradigm Bangladesh sought to present to the world.
It was disappointing to observe that the hard earned reputation and accomplishment of the peacekeeping operations were tainted by allegations of sexual abuse by United Nations peacekeepers. Those improprieties had to be addressed with “iron hands”. Success of a peacekeeping mission hinged on a well-coordinated tripartite partnership and sustained consultation between the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Full participation by the troop-contributing countries in every stage of the decision making and planning of the peacekeeping missions must be institutionalized. The challenge was to dovetail peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding into a service of seamless progression of complementary activities. That must be essentially local, though buttressed by external support.
VLADIMIR F. ZAEMSKIY (Russian Federation), said events of the last year demonstrated that peacekeeping operations, in their multi-functional dimension, were the most flexible instrument for addressing tasks in the sphere of international peace and security. Following the 2005 Summit, his country had been involved in activities including the introduction of integrated planning of peacekeeping operations. He supported efforts to uphold high standards of conduct for all categories of peacekeeping personnel. The Military Staff Committee should be more actively involved in providing assistance to the Security Council.
He said sexual exploitation and abuse, and all other improper conduct, undermined confidence in the United Nations. His delegation had taken an active part in talks on relevant strategy. That issue, however, should not overshadow the work of the Special Committee, which should also consider the inappropriate use of military observers to United Nations missions. The principle of impartiality as applied to them should not be called into question.
Broadly speaking, he continued, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations was particularly important in reviewing all issues associated with United Nations activity in that area. Regrettably, its 2006 substantive session failed to fulfil its programme of work. A more orderly procedure would help meet common interest. He said the Group of Eight (G-8) countries had an ability to consolidate efforts of the international community in maintaining peace and security. In his country, the Ministry of the Interior had started reviewing practical issues of training African peacekeepers at its Peacekeepers’ Training Centre. The Ministry of Defence was studying the issue of training up to 15 African peacekeepers a year.
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG ( Brazil) said the first step in addressing the surge in peacekeeping operations should be to bring the Secretariat ever closer to the troop-contributing countries. Almost 9 in 10 peacekeepers were nationals of developing countries. Together with their contribution to the missions came the need to have a say in their structure. The security of troops, police and civilians should be a priority. In that regard, he regretted that in the case of the new United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), the Security Council had not taken into account the recommendations of the Secretary-General, and had put peacekeepers at risk in case of an upsurge of violence. Another important measure was to ensure that reimbursement for troop-contributing countries was processed and paid in an efficient, transparent manner. Due regard should be increasingly paid to a better geographical balance of the staff in charge of peacekeeping.
He said United Nations peacekeeping operations should be endowed with an adequate structure and a unified command and control. The mandates should be clear and objective, and be fully financed from assessed contributions of the peacekeeping budget. The absence of any of those factors was tantamount to exposing the peacekeepers to the frequent frailty of peace processes and the ever harmful action of spoilers. Hasty withdrawal of or reducing in peacekeeping mission in order to save money had proven unwise. Proposals of policies to operationalize previous decisions on sexual abuse and exploitation -- particularly the victims assistance strategy and the revised Memorandum of Understanding -- should be dealt with carefully. All involved -- victims, witnesses and accused -- must have recourse to due process of law.
Member States should take up and develop the practice of cooperating with regional and sub-regional organizations, which had proven essential in such cases as those involving the Organization of American States in Haiti, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in West Africa, and the African Union in the Sudan. As the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was overstretched, it should be granted the necessary means to meet the missions’ needs. Also, if it were true that lasting peace could not be achieved without social justice, development and eradication of poverty, it should also be true that the Organization would be prepared to invest a larger portion of its peacekeeping efforts in such areas. Underlining Brazil’s contributions to peacekeeping, he said his country was now involved in eight operations and had its main contingent in Haiti.
MANAR TALEB ( Syria), aligning himself with Morocco’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping operations had played an effective role in alleviating tensions and ensuring environments favourable for peacebuilding. Operations had been effective in addressing multidimensional tasks such as the observation of ceasefire accords and addressing complex challenges in territorial administration.
Recalling the Secretary-General’s report that noted that last year’s peacekeeping budget had reached $5 billion, he said it was important to think of political aspects, since the United Nations had been established on a commitment to promote amicable dispute settlement. He noted a shift in the Organization’s focus on creating a direct cure, without going through a prevention phase. Peacekeeping operations should not be seen as a substitute for conflict resolution; rather, they were an interim measure taken to prevent the exacerbation of issues. There was a need to address the underlying causes of conflicts through coordination with the Economic and Social Council and donor States.
Recalling United Nations peacekeeping history in the Middle East, he said Syria appreciated current peacekeeping contingents in Lebanon, where the killing of UNIFIL personnel last July had been the result of Israeli aggression. Peace had become more illusive, in part because of Israeli defiance of resolutions. Syria reaffirmed the need to comply with principles of peacekeeping operations. Responsibility for financing peacekeeping operations should also be borne by the aggressor. Peacekeeping operations should comply with their mandates set forth in the Charter, including those regarding State sovereignty and territorial integrity. There was a need to set clear mandates through an institutional, non-selective vision. Syria had signed on 21 November 2005 a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Peacekeeping Department on Syrian contributions to the Peacekeeping Reserve Standby Arrangements. Syria also hoped to participate in police contingents.
KIRSTI LINTONEN ( Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said member States of the Union had collectively contributed nearly 40 per cent of the peacekeeping budget, and were also quickly developing their role as troop contributors. In the near future, United Nations peace operations would require increasing numbers of personnel from all areas of the Secretariat, as well as qualified staff for multidimensional peacekeeping. Only by close cooperation with related partners could effectiveness in peacekeeping be maintained. The United Nations was currently working at the limit of its capability. She therefore welcomed the fact that regional organizations were increasingly involved in solving regional conflicts.
She said the European Union was ready to explore the different options of enhanced rapidly deployable capacities, and to develop modalities for use of regional capacities for that. It also strongly supported further implementation of a standing police capacity. The larger, multidimensional operations of today incorporated prevention, mediation, respect for human rights, rule of law, gender equality and humanitarian assistance, as well as oversight of post-conflict constructions and long term development. The Union combined a wide range of long term as well as short term instruments of conflict management and prevention. Lately, growing emphasis had been placed on the measures of both civilian and military crisis management, within the framework of European security and defence policy.
The European Union-United Nations Joint Declaration on Cooperation in Crisis Management of 2003 included four areas of action for far-reaching cooperation: planning, training, communication and best practice, she said. The Union could, if requested, deploy military assets such as a battle group in the framework of a Union-led crisis management operation. It was also developing a rapid deployment capability in the field of European Union civilian crisis management through civilian response teams. The challenging situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remained a high priority for the Union. The operation there had proceeded well in challenging conditions and continued to cooperate closely with United Nations Mission during the elections process. The United Nations-European Union cooperation had increased trust in the impartiality of both organizations.
She said the primary responsibility for the security of peacekeepers rested with the host Government. In that regard, she demanded that all parties involved in armed conflicts met their obligations under the Geneva Convention and ensured adequate levels of security and protection for all peacekeeping personnel. She also called for unconditional respect for the inviolability of United Nations premises.
Perpetrators of gender-based violence and crimes against humanity should not be allowed to believe that they could operate with impunity. The European Union was firmly committed to ending impunity for such crimes, it also reaffirmed the need to ensure that all personnel in United Nations peacekeeping operations function in a manner that preserved the image, credibility impartiality and integrity of the United Nations. Misconduct was unacceptable. The European Union encouraged the use of peacekeeping capacity in protecting populations against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
RUAMPON MEECHOO-ARRTH (Thailand), associating himself with the statement delivered by Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said immediate action was one of the most effective methods of lowering civilian casualties and stopping the escalation of conflict. His country stressed the need for a comprehensive review of the United Nations Standby Arrangement, as agreed by the Secretary-General. With alternative resource generation, and methods of mission readiness for faster deployment to serve peacekeeping needs on his agenda, he encouraged more developed countries to help developing nations that had served as the backbone of United Nations peacekeeping operations for decades.
Another issue of concern, he said, was the security of peacekeepers on the ground. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations should be able to gather tactical information on new threats to personnel and take steps to prevent attacks. On other work to be done, he called on parties in conflict to fully cooperate with United Nations peacekeeping missions. Thailand regretted that sexual exploitation and abuse persisted, and he said he welcomed the establishment of conduct and discipline teams to address the issue. However, he would like to see greater accountability at the senior level to take the problem more seriously. He said Thailand was planning a considerable increase in troops in peacekeeping mission in Africa.
Z.D. MUBURI-MUITA ( Kenya) said his country had taken part in conflict mediation and the search for peaceful dispute settlement across Africa, including the Horn and Great Lake Region. Kenya was committed to pursuing those efforts within its new foreign policy dispensation and resources. His country would also contribute peacekeeping troops to United Nations missions, including the African Mission in Darfur. As Kenya’s strategic objective was to support United Nations and African Union initiatives, his country would chair the International Conference on the Great Lakes on 14-15 December in Nairobi.
He said his delegation supported partnerships for peace operations, and the African Union had demonstrated a strong will to take responsibility for its own peace and stability. However, as the African Union had to depend on its own resources and those donated by its partners to sustain missions, Kenya asked the United Nations to explore the idea of the Union benefiting from logistics stocks held at Brindisi, Italy.
He noted that Kenyan troops had continuously been involved in humanitarian mine-clearance activities. He remained concerned about coordination between Kenyan deminers and those of contracted civilian firms, calling for equitable harmonization of their activities, equipment, deployment and remuneration. Any misconduct among peacekeepers had detrimental effects on relations between national contingents and local populations. Kenya welcomed efforts to develop a mechanism to standardize the norms of conduct and strongly encouraged States to cooperate fully with the United Nations in that manner. The burden of trial for misconduct by contingent members or military observers should be placed on Member States.
ALMOUSTAPHA EL HADJI DICKO ( Mali), aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Charter of the United Nations stipulated that all Member States must contribute personnel and facilities to the Organization. Since 1948, some 130 nations, among them Mali, had contributed military and police personnel to the United Nations. Many countries from the South, particularly from Africa, had made their contributions.
He said Mali had a long-standing tradition of seeking peace and stability, based on mutual respect, tolerance and compromise. That belief had remained unshaken by time and events. Mali had always been ready to pitch for peacekeeping operations, since it had participated in 1960 in the Congo. It had also participated in Liberia, Rwanda, Angola and the Central Africa Republic. It had already deployed more than a 1,000 troops to peacekeeping operations.
In order to provide local support for peacekeeping operations, he continued, Mali had established a training-centre for peacekeeping operations that also admitted people from other countries in the region. A documentation centre on peacekeeping operations had also been established, with the task of following Mali’s troops, to disseminate information to the public and to contribute to future training materials for peacekeeping operations.
JACQUES MORNEAU ( Canada), also speaking for Australia and New Zealand, said his Group continued to be concerned at how stretched were the resources of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The Department should consider increasing the Military and Police Divisions in its future budget requests. Those divisions were understaffed and lacked the depth and resources to plan new operations on a sustained basis. He said his Group had offered its help on doctrine development, to facilitate long overdue examination of the manner in which peace operations were being conducted. It looked forward to the newly established Peacebuilding Commission coming into operation and to learning more about anticipated working relationships and delineation of responsibility with relevant Departments at Headquarters and in the field.
Noting the establishment of a strategic military cell in Headquarters to provide military guidance to UNIFIL, he called on the Secretariat to brief the Special Committee on the effectiveness and the anticipated duration of the initiative. He noted that, during the recent conflict in Lebanon, four United Nations Military Observers had been killed. Due to current policy of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the four Member States that had lost officers had been denied the opportunity to have a representative on the United Nations Board of Inquiry investigating the incident. He urged the Department and the Special Committee to review that policy.
He said that, in the recent past, the use of Formed Police Units had dramatically increased. There was therefore an urgent need to finalize the development of policy and standards for those units. He welcomed the range of strategic policing initiatives aimed at building institutional police capacity in post-conflict environments. Initiatives such as the Standing Police Capacity had proven successful and should continue.
Welcoming the continued recognition in the Secretariat of the need for further development of policy and guidelines on Joint Operations Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Centres, he said it was essential that the Department address the issue of intelligence. Effective military and police operations required intelligence to support missions; intelligence would also contribute to an enhanced force protection. The continuing resistance to provide effective intelligence support to United Nations Missions had a negative impact on their ability to have clear situation awareness, and consequently diminished their effectiveness, endangered mission success and increased the risk of failing to identify emerging security threats to United Nations personnel. It was imperative that the United Nations have full access to intelligence collection, analysis and fusion assets.
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