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Speakers Highlight Threat Posed by Non-State Actors, Terrorists

Delegates from countries where United Nations peacekeeping missions are deployed expressed divergent views today on their effectiveness in the midst of increasingly difficult conflict environments, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) continued its general debate on the Organization’s peacekeeping efforts.

Mali’s representative said that almost 10 years after it deployed, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has yet to help re-establish the State’s authority throughout its territory.  “Worse still, the security situation in Mali has become considerably worse,” he said, calling for a change in the doctrine that underpins United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa.

Cyprus’s representative, on the other hand, said the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), established in 1964, retains its significance in maintaining the ceasefire on the island and protecting civilians.  It is preventing not only renewed fighting, but also further advancements by the occupying Power, she said.

Israel’s representative welcomed the presence of peacekeeping forces in the Middle East as a positive contribution to de-escalation.  She emphasized, however, that peacekeeping operations must adjust to a new reality featuring non-State actors and terrorist organizations, she said, emphasizing that wearing a United Nations blue helmet no longer guarantees protection.

Timor-Leste’s representative noted that his country, which hosted the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) from 2006 to 2012, said it is now giving back through its active role in peacekeeping operations worldwide.  Missions must adapt to challenges on the ground, but they also require sufficient time, technology and local support, he said.

Bangladesh’s representative, noting that peacekeeping has become more hazardous, was among several speakers who called for adequate resources and capabilities to keep up with evolving situations.  Recalling that his country has more than 7,000 peacekeepers deployed in eight missions, he emphasized that the safety of blue helmets remains a challenge.

Eritrea’s representative said blue helmets are deployed today in places where there is no peace to keep, and where armed groups, terrorists, organized crime syndicates and major international Powers are working to retain their influence.

Norway’s representative said a proliferation of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech in host countries is a serious concern.  It endangers the lives of peacekeepers and undermines efforts to reconcile former adversaries, build trust among local communities and support peace processes.

Ukraine’s representative said that, in response to the Russian Federation’s aggression, his country has pulled back the personnel it had assigned to United Nations peacekeeping missions.  Ukraine will resume its participation once it achieves victory, he said, wondering, however, why the Russian Federation is still taking part in peacekeeping operations.

The Russian Federation’s representative, in response, said there was no need to comment on the Ukrainian delegate’s attack on her country.  The Committee was not the place for propaganda statements, she added.

Also speaking today were representatives of Iran, Jordan, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Cameroon, Cambodia, Paraguay, Mongolia, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Sudan, Togo, Serbia and Namibia.

The representatives of Iran, Lebanon and Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Friday, 4 November, to being its consideration of special political missions.  It will conclude its general debate on peacekeeping on Monday, 7 November.

Statements

VAHID GHELICH (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping should be carried out in full compliance with the United Nations Charter.  Highlighting the role of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping as the only United Nations forum mandated to consider peacekeeping as a whole, he said that peacekeeping is a shared commitment between all Member States.  Operations must keep pace with the changing nature of conflict and security while following the principles of impartiality and consent of relevant parties.  Stressing the importance of involving all stakeholders in formulating and implementing peacekeeping mandates, he said that host countries have the primary responsibility for protection of civilians.  Any foreign military intervention under that pretext should be avoided, he added.

SULTAN ALQAISI (Jordan), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that as many as 120,00 Jordanians have participated in peacekeeping missions over the years despite difficult circumstances and dangers.  Noting that the entire international community is responsible for enhancing the effectiveness of peacekeeping, he highlighted the role of troop‑ and police‑contributing countries and called for adequately resourced missions.  Underscoring the need for financial resources and political will, he said tripartite cooperation between the Secretary‑General, the Secretariat and troop‑and police‑contributing countries is vital.  He went on to emphasize the importance of partnerships in tackling root causes of conflict, adding that the loss of even one peacekeeper is a loss for everyone.

KARLITO NUNES (Timor‑Leste) said that all peacekeeping operations must adapt to challenges on the ground and execute the mandates entrusted to them.  They must be given sufficient time and support, along with a technological and knowledge toolkit, host‑country support and interaction with local civil society, including women and persons with disabilities.  As a former host country, Timor‑Leste has first‑hand experience with United Nations peacekeeping, he said, adding that today it is giving back through its active involvement in peacekeeping operations worldwide.  The rule of law is an important part of peacekeeping, especially in ensuring accountability, security and control of the forces that will help ensure peaceful societies, he said, adding that women have a positive impact on peacekeeping operations and that there should be gender parity.

PATRYK JAKUB WOSZCZEK (Poland) said international peace and security requires wide and effective engagement of countries devoted to the values enshrined in the United Nations Charter.  It is crucial to define the next phase of the Action for Peacekeeping Plus (A4P+), he said, adding that missions must have the correct capabilities and mindsets required for mandate implementation.  The women, peace and security agenda remain a core issue, he said, adding that only well‑tailored, specialized training can ensure successful operations and the right level of protection for both peacekeepers and civilians.  He went on to say that the international community must deliver innovative and cross‑cutting approaches to ensure that peace efforts are climate‑sensitive.

MD MONWAR HOSSAIN (Bangladesh), noting that peacekeeping has become more hazardous, called for adequate resources and capabilities to keep up with evolving situations.  His country has been at the forefront of the Organization’s peacekeeping endeavors, he said, with more than 7,000 Bangladeshi peacekeepers deployed in eight missions around the world.  Noting the progress made in strategic and operational integration, he called for the implementation of the A4P+ initiative.  He also welcomed recent improvements in mandate delivery, adding that the safety of peacekeepers remains a challenge.  Emphasizing the need for timely, day and night medical evacuation, among other enhanced medical capacities, he stressed the need to ensure accountability through quick and effective investigations of crimes against peacekeepers.

MAJID KHAMIS GHARIB ALNAKHI AL ALI (United Arab Emirates) said that while everybody recognizes women’s contribution to peacekeeping, the number of women in peacekeeping operations is still too low.  Noting a rather limited increase in their participation in recent years, he called on the international community to invest in women’s capacity building.  His country continues to train female soldiers in Africa and the Middle East, he said, noting that it launched a program in partnership with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN‑Women) to increase the number of female peacekeepers and to ensure they are well‑trained.  He also stressed the importance of missions using renewable energy, which can reduce operational expenses and greenhouse emissions.  Stressing the need to ensure transitional success and avoid security failures, he expressed concern about the increased attacks against peacekeepers.

GABRIELLA MICHAELIDOU (Cyprus), associating herself with the European Union, said that as one of the longest‑running peacekeeping operations, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) retains its significance in maintaining the ceasefire on the island and protecting civilians.  “The continuous occupation of over a third of Cyprus’ territory and constant violations by the occupation army of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus, contrary to Security Council resolutions, underscores the necessity of sustaining a peacekeeping force that not only prevents the recurrence of fighting, but also further advancements by the occupying power.”  She warned that UNFICYP’s success is currently being jeopardized by the acceptance of faits accompli on the ground.  Given such developments, peacekeeping operations must have unimpeded access and freedom of movement so that they can fulfil their responsibility of reporting to the Security Council, among others, she said.

ROBERT CHATRNUCH (Slovakia) said that the experience of United Nations and African Union peace missions and operations clearly shows that a nationally led and inclusive security sector reform process can address the root causes of insecurity and fragility while also creating an enabling environment for peace and sustainable development.  Such reforms are directly linked to the protection of civilians and the rule of law, two critical tasks that have become an integral part of almost every peace operation.  Gender‑sensitive security sector reform is key to developing security sector institutions that are non‑discriminatory, representative of the population and capable of effectively responding to the specific security needs of diverse groups.  He added that international support for such processes must be coherent and aligned with actual needs and priorities of the country concerned, as well as context‑specific and adjusted to local needs and realities.

AMADOU AHIDJO (Cameroon), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, underscored the importance of a coherent vision that includes all the complexities of peacekeeping operations.  Noting the number of deaths of peacekeeping soldiers due to acts of violence, he welcomed progress in reducing the number of allegations of sexual exploitation and other professional wrongdoing.  Highlighting the need for improving peacekeeping partnerships with regional organizations like the African Union, he welcomed tripartite cooperation in capacity building and said it must include skills‑training of civilian entities and national institutions in Member States.  As a troop‑contributing country, Cameroon has sent its personnel around the world, he said, also highlighting the establishment in 2008 of an International School of Security Forces to train African forces in view of the increasing peacekeeping role of the African Union.

MEALEA HENG (Cambodia), aligning herself with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said her country has deployed over 8,300 troops serving in nine countries, from the Central African Republic to Yemen.  Reaffirming her country’s commitment to the women, peace and security agenda, she said that more than 15 per cent of Cambodian peacekeepers serving in United Nations missions are women.  Peacekeeping mandates should be clear, credible, achievable and adequately resourced, she said, calling for more investments, reliable field support and access to modern technologies.  Ensuring safety and security is a shared responsibility which also requires host countries to participate in ensuring justice and protecting the lives of peacekeepers and civilians.  She went on to request Member States to support Cambodia’s candidature in the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission for the term 2025-2026.

JOSÉ EDUARDO PEREIRA SOSA (Paraguay) said the A4P+ initiative is proof of the United Nations’ commitment to peacekeeping operations.  Noting that support for peacekeeping is enshrined in his country’s Constitution, and that Paraguay is a troop‑contributing country, he said it is essential to protect and promote peacekeeping mandates and to strengthen training prior to deployment, with a special emphasis on ethical conduct.  Although “blue helmets” are one of the most representative examples of the work of the United Nations, ever‑changing threats require ever‑changing efforts to ensure that they carry out their mandates in the safest way possible.  He added that the protection of civilians must feature in all mandates and given a clear and explicit priority.  Innovative means must also be used to remove obstacles to increased women’s participation in peacekeeping, he added.

ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia) noted that threats and attacks against peacekeepers are becoming increasingly complex as misinformation and disinformation against the United Nations continue.  It is critically essential that missions have clear and implementable mandates supported by all the resources they need.  To this end, Mongolia supports peacekeeping reform efforts, including the development of compact forces equipped with modern weapons, equipment and facilities.  As a peace‑loving country and full member of the global community, Mongolia actively participates in United Nations peacekeeping and it is committed to contributing to global peace and security, he emphasized.

CARL CHRISTIAN HARRIS (United Kingdom), noting that his country makes assessed and extra‑budgetary contributions to the United Nations peacekeeping budget, said that peacekeeping cannot afford to remain static.  Expressing full support to the Secretary‑General’s A4P agenda, he said that there is more to be done to keep peacekeepers safe, including improved training and ensuring that missions have the right medical support capabilities in place.  Welcoming ongoing work to improve mission planning across civilian and military components, he said that planning must be rooted in data and evidence‑based decision‑making.  Further, effective planning is underpinned by having the right personnel and capabilities at the right time to meet clear capability requirements, he said, highlighting the importance of women peacekeepers at all levels and in key positions.

SHAMSURI NOORDIN (Malaysia), noting that Malaysian peacekeepers are serving in five United Nations peacekeeping operations as well as a special political mission, underscored the critical role of training to ensure effective peacekeeping.  The Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre continues to be recognized as a premier training centre in the region, he said, highlighting that its curriculum includes a contingent commander and gender advisor course as well as training on the comprehensive protection of civilians.  The Centre has trained more than 900 military and civilian personnel, including 190 foreign participants, he said.  Reaffirming support for women in peacekeeping, he said Malaysia deploys its highest number of women peacekeepers in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) consisting of 85 personnel.  Malaysia has achieved the uniformed gender parity target, he said, also expressing concern about the continued high number of attacks against peacekeepers.

ODD INGE KVALHEIM (Norway) said that most, if not all, United Nations peacekeeping operations are facing a deteriorating political and security environment.  To deal with this very demanding situation, missions must be made more proactive, agile, flexible and gender-responsive, in line with the A4P+ agenda.  The protection of civilians, including children, remains a key concern and transition planning must consider the risks posed to civilians.  The full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping is another priority, he said, emphasizing that gender balance in United Nations police contingents will benefit both the people they serve and the police themselves.  He went on to say that the rise in deliberate attacks on United Nations peacekeepers is unacceptable.  Norway is seriously concerned about the proliferation of mis‑ and disinformation and hate speech in several host countries. Such activities endanger the lives of peacekeepers and undermines efforts to reconcile former adversaries, build trust among local communities and support peace processes in host countries.

ELSA HAILE (Eritrea) said United Nations peacekeeping today is deployed in places where there is no peace to keep, and where armed groups, terrorists, organized crime syndicates and major international powers are working to retain their influence.  This makes peacemaking difficult, but when properly mandated and resourced, United Nations peacekeeping missions can be a valuable tool for saving lives and creating space to address the causes of conflicts.  Missions must deploy with clear and achievable mandates and the consent of the host Government, as well as with wide support within the Security Council and among regional States and a clear exit strategy.  Oftentimes, mandates are not accompanied by genuine and serious engagement to find a political solution to a conflict, she said, adding that any peacekeeping operations have been deployed for decades, drawing resources away from international development cooperation while also eroding trust in the effectiveness of peacekeeping.

MOUSSA DOLLO (Mali), noting that his country hosts one of the world’s biggest peacekeeping operations, said that the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was deployed in July 2013 to help the country reestablish its authority across the whole of its territory and to protect the civilian population.  However, almost 10 years after its creation, Mali’s population is still waiting for the Mission to accomplish this goal.  “Worse still, the security situation in Mali has become considerably worse.”  Expressing concerns about the mission’s effectiveness, he called for a change in the doctrine of United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa.  Noting the recent extension of MINUSMA’s mandate, he said the Mission operates in a very hostile environment, characterized by terrorist attacks against civilian populations.  “MINUSMA is one of the most deadly peacekeeping operations in the world,” he said, adding that Mali’s population is calling for the authorities to adopt robust measures to turn things around.  In response, the Government has taken steps which some partners wrongly considered to be restrictive, he said, stressing that the long‑term security of Mali is the country’s responsibility.

Mr. SISSOKO (Sudan), stressing that successful peacekeeping missions require ongoing coordination and cooperation in addition to consultations with all stakeholders, reiterated the importance of engaging in negotiations with Member States and taking their points of view into account.  Reaffirming the Special Committee’s role as the only platform mandated to discuss peacekeeping operations and to make recommendations, he said that “Sudan is a pioneer in terms of experience with peacekeeping operations to resolve conflicts.”  It has proven its capacity to overcome difficulties and find adequate solutions, he said, noting that periodic reforms are essential to overcome shortcomings and improve performance.  Calling for improved coordination with regional and subregional organizations, he also reaffirmed the importance of respecting the sovereignty of the host country, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.  The mentality of some peacekeeping operation leaders seems to be that host countries are incapable of preserving their sovereignty, he said, adding that this can contribute to a negative image for the United Nations.  Sudan’s Government has worked to implement the peace agreement despite scarce local financial resources, he added.

SERHII DVORNYK (Ukraine) said missions which include Ukrainian peacekeepers have always contributed to international peace and security and the civilian population in the area of conflict.  Unfortunately, the Russian Federation’s full‑scale invasion of Ukraine has forced the country to pull back its peacekeeping personnel.  Many Ukrainians with peacekeeping experience are now protecting their country and its civilian population, fighting to restore a peace based on the United Nations Charter and the principles of sovereign territory.  A situation in which citizens of the Russian Federation are still peacekeepers seriously affects the credibility of United Nations peacekeeping in general, he said.  How can the United Nations rely on a country that commits the crimes of aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, he wondered, adding that Russian contingents must be removed from peacekeeping.  Ukraine strongly supports collective efforts to make peacekeeping more up to the challenge of protecting peace and security, within the A4P+ strategy, he continued.  United Nations peace activities require an approach that takes due account of the causes of the conflict, including inter‑State conflict.  He went on to say that after it achieves victory, Ukraine will return to United Nations peacekeeping activities.

ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) said there should be clear, realistic mandates for peacekeeping operations which take the root causes of each conflict into account and which give priority to political settlements and achieving national reconciliation.  A key element of peacekeeping is cooperation with the State involved, which cannot be replaced by civil society or non‑governmental organizations.  An important task is to improve the trilateral interaction between the Security Council, the troop‑ and police‑contributing countries and the Secretariat in order to strengthen the spirit of partnership, cooperation and mutual trust.  She underscored the growing role of the African Union and regional organizations to build continental peace and security.  There is no need to comment on the Ukrainian attack on the Russian Federation, she said, adding that the Committee was not the place for propaganda statements.

Mr. SOUMANI (Togo), noting that Togo has dispatched peacekeepers to several other African countries, said its commitment to peacekeeping has been recognized by the international community, particularly the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  Recalling the many Togolese “blue helmets” who gave their lives to uphold peace, and noting West Africa’s security challenges and terrorist threats, he said Togo has spared no effort to confronting these challenges.  Welcoming peacekeeping reform efforts, he said political solutions to conflicts are essential.  Recalling the ministerial meeting on peacekeeping held in Seoul, he said that the commitments made there by States must be actively implemented.  He also welcomed ongoing dialogue between the Organization and host countries.

JELENA PLAKALOVIC (Serbia) said her country is among the most significant contributors to peacekeeping, ranking seventh in Europe and forty‑sixth in the world.  Members of the Serbian Armed Forces have been engaged in four United Nations peacekeeping operations, she said, adding that Serbia has developed significant capacities and capabilities for training and enabling personnel before their deployment.  Serbia is ready for more intensive cooperation and partnerships under the United Nations Light Coordination Mechanism, she said, reaffirming support for the A4P and A4P+ agendas.  Highlighting the increasing number of women engaged in peacekeeping operations, she said that Serbia has as many as 14 per cent of active servicewomen and is an example to other countries on implementing the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy.  Noting the importance of cooperation with host countries, she stressed that the engagement of United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) should continue with undiminished scope and an unchanged mandate.

Ms. AMEDY (Israel) welcomed the presence of peacekeeping forces in the Middle East as a positive contribution to de‑escalation.  She emphasized, however, that peacekeeping operations must adjust to a new reality in which non‑State actors and terrorist organizations deprive men, women and children of their basic human needs, exploit funds meant for civic purposes in order to strengthen their military capabilities, and store their weapons in civilian infrastructure in violation of international law and in complete disregard for the safety of United Nations peacekeepers.  Wearing a blue helmet no longer guarantees protection, she emphasized.  Israel remains committed to implementing Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), but many actors on the ground, including the internationally designated terrorist organization Hizbullah, still violate this and other resolutions.  Peacekeeping missions must report to the Council in full detail and impartially, reflecting the realities on the ground, she said, adding that Hizbullah does not conceal its dangerous terrorist ambitions, and poses a threat to peacekeepers.

HELENA NDAPEWA KUZEE (Namibia) said there is an imperative to ensure that more dynamic, multidimensional approaches to peacekeeping are adopted.  Namibia welcomes the approaches adopted through the A4P initiatives which demonstrate the malleability and adaptive nature of the United Nations system.  In this connection, misinformation and disinformation pose serious challenges for peace operations and they should be countered effectively.  Innovations pertaining to the digital transformation of peacekeeping, as well as a focus on strategic communications, would be welcome.  As a post‑ conflict society, Namibia is acutely aware of the value of psycho‑social support both in peacebuilding and in creating conditions for political stability.  Recalling that Namibia is a beneficiary of one of the Organization’s earlier phases of multidimensional peacekeeping, she said that the meaningful participation of women measurably strengthens protection efforts and deepens the effectiveness of peacebuilding.

Right of Reply

The representative of Iran, speaking in exercise of the right of reply called the Israeli regime the only source of tension in the Middle East.  Israel’s aggression and occupation have compelled the United Nations to conduct peacekeeping operations in the region, she said, adding that Israel is assisting terrorists in Syrian territory.  The Security Council’s inaction allows Israel to continue with impunity, she added.

The representative of Lebanon said that Israel’s delegate failed to quote the Secretary‑General’s report on UNIFIL correctly.  He then read aloud an excerpt from that report, adding that Israel uses its military power against peacekeepers.

The representative of Syria, responding to Israel’s statement, said there is no border between Syria and Israel, but rather the Occupied Syrian Golan, which is a cherished part of Syria.  He added that the occupying Power uses non‑State parties and armed groups to justify its aggression in Syrian territories, including attacks on civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties.

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