Peacekeeping as an experience of global partnership?
The International Day of Peacekeepers, peacekeepers we would say, is a tribute to the peacekeeping force established by the UN General Assembly in 2003, on a significant date: it is the same day on which the first peacekeeping operation was inaugurated in 1948.
Peacekeeping forces monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas and can assist ex-combatants in the implementation of commitments made in peace agreements. The UN Security Council has consistently entrusted its peacekeeping operations with the clear authority to use force beyond self-defence – primarily for the protection of civilians. To fulfil this mandate, the Council expects UN peacekeepers to take preventive and reactive action, to proactively patrol local communities, to project a strong deterrent posture, and to be robust in defending themselves and protecting civilians.
For too long, however, there has been a clear gap between expectations and results. Despite failures, the Council expects UN forces to conduct strategic and increasingly ‘aggressive’ operations to help stabilise increasingly hostile environments and neutralise insurgents, e.g. in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with terrorists in Mali and government forces in South Sudan. (Source: https://deeply.thenewhumanitarian.org/peacebuilding/community/2018/05/21/the-gap-between-expectation-and-performance-on-u-n-peacekeeping)
This day is meant to commemorate all those who have died in peacekeeping operations that see an increasing number of deaths among UN peacekeepers, as a consequence of the UN’s engagement with such actors in increasingly conflictual and violent environments where peace processes are continually challenged.
Indeed, in the Cruz report, published in 2017 by the United Nations, ‘Improving the Security of United Nations Peacekeepers. We need to change the way we are doing the business’, (Improving the Security of United Nations Peackeepers. We need to change the way we are doing our business) it is pointed out that 195 personnel have been killed by violence since 2013, “more than in any other five-year period in history” – and that 56 of them were killed in 2017 alone – “the highest number since 1994”.
A REAL REFORM
TO BECOME A GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP EXPERIENCE
WILL IT BE POSSIBLE?
AN ARMED PEACEKEEPING FORCE IS NOT A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS?
Structural reflections are underway…