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File:UN Soldiers in Eritrea.jpeg
United Nations soldiers, part of United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, monitoring the Eritrea-Ethiopia boundary.

Peacekeeping refers to activities that tend to create conditions that favor lasting peace.[1]

Within the United Nations group of nation-state governments and organizations, there is a general understanding that at the international level, peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas, and may assist ex-combatants in implementing peace agreement commitments that they have undertaken. Such assistance may come in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development. Accordingly, UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.[2][3]

The United Nations is not the only organization to implement peacekeeping missions. Non-UN peacekeeping forces include the NATO mission in Kosovo (with United Nations authorization) and the Multinational Force and Observers on the Sinai Peninsula. The Nonviolent Peaceforce is one NGO widely considered to have expertise in general peacemaking by non-governmental volunteers or activists.[4]

Potential for harm to troops=Edit

There is some concern[by whom?] about the harm caused to troops, as peacekeeping can be very stressful. The peacekeepers are exposed to danger caused by the warring parties and often in an unfamiliar climate. This gives rise to different mental health problems, suicide, and substance abuse as shown by the percentage of former peacekeepers with those problems. Having a parent in a mission abroad for an extended period is also stressful to the peacekeepers' families.[5]

Another viewpoint raises the problem that the peacekeeping may soften the troops and erode their combat ability, as the mission profile of a peacekeeping contingent is totally different from the profile of a unit fighting an all-out war.[6][7]

Peacekeeping, human trafficking, and forced prostitutionEdit

Main article: Peacekeeping child sexual abuse scandal

Reporters witnessed a rapid increase in prostitution in Cambodia, Mozambique, Bosnia, and Kosovo after UN and, in the case of the latter two, NATO peacekeeping forces moved in. In the 1996 UN study called "The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children", former first lady of Mozambique Graça Machel documented: "In 6 out of 12 country studies on sexual exploitation of children in situations of armed conflict prepared for the present report, the arrival of peacekeeping troops has been associated with a rapid rise in child prostitution".[8]

Gita Sahgal spoke out in 2004 with regard to the fact that prostitution and sex abuse crops up wherever humanitarian intervention efforts are set up. She observed that the "issue with the UN is that peacekeeping operations unfortunately seem to be doing the same thing that other militaries do. Even the guardians have to be guarded".[9]

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica apologized to Haitian President Michel Martelly over the alleged rape of an 18-year-old Haitian man by Uruguayan UN peacekeeping troops. Martelly said "a collective rape carried out against a young Haitian" would not go unpunished. Four soldiers suspected of being involved in the rape have been detained.[10][11]

Brahimi analysisEdit

In response to criticism, particularly of the cases of sexual abuse by peacekeepers, the UN has taken steps toward reforming its operations. The Brahimi Report was the first of many steps to recap former peacekeeping missions, isolate flaws, and take steps to patch these mistakes to ensure the efficiency of future peacekeeping missions. The UN has vowed to continue to put these practices into effect when performing peacekeeping operations in the future. The technocratic aspects of the reform process have been continued and revitalised by the DPKO in its "Peace Operations 2010" reform agenda. This included an increase in personnel, the harmonization of the conditions of service of field and headquarters staff, the development of guidelines and standard operating procedures, and improving the partnership arrangement between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Union, and European Union. A 2008 capstone doctrine entitled "United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines"[12] incorporates and builds on the Brahimi analysis.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Bureš, Oldřich (June 2006). Regional Peacekeeping Operations: Complementing or Undermining the United Nations Security Council?. Global Change, Peace & Security 18 (2): 83–99.
  • Fortna, Virginia Page (2004). Does Peacekeeping Keep Peace? International Intervention and the Duration of Peace After Civil War. International Studies Quarterly 48 (2): 269–292.
  • Pushkina, Darya (June 2006). A Recipe for Success? Ingredients of a Successful Peacekeeping Mission. International Peacekeeping 13 (2): 133–149.
  • Blocq, Daniel. 2009. "Western Soldiers and the Protection of Local Civilians in UN Peacekeeping Operations: Is a Nationalist Orientation in the Armed Forces Hindering Our Preparedness to Fight?" Armed Forces & Society, abstract
  • Bridges, Donna and Debbie Horsfall. 2009. "Increasing Operational Effectiveness in UN Peacekeeping: Toward a Gender-Balanced Force." Armed Forces & Society, May 2009. abstract
  • Howard, Lise Morjé. 2008. UN Peacekeeping in Civil Wars. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. abstract
  • (2008). Pitfalls and Prospects in the Peacekeeping Future. Annual Review of Political Science 11: 283–301.
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