La professionnalisation du maintien de la paix des Nations Unies ou le travail de Sisyphe

The United Nations and its peacekeepers are more often mentioned for its failure, rather than its successes. However, as the author argues, it is important to remember who should be held responsible for these failures: Since the operations of the UN are based on a vision of security delivered collectively, the responsibility can only be collective, and that of both the financial contributors and the contributors of troops, police and military experts. Much still remains to be done for UN peace operations to become properly professionalized. The author suggest improvements to the quality of staff recruitment, training, and organizations of operational support. However, while the professionalization of peacekeeping is a long-term project, and can be described to be the likes of the labor of Sisyphus, particularly because of the number of actors involved – there is progress to be found.   Read the full article here...

A Legal Framework for UN Peacekeeping

This article was part of the Briefing Book prepared for the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations by IPI and CIC. A main weakness of UN peacekeeping operations is the lack of an overarching legal framework. As a result, there are systemic weaknesses and gaps in the laws particularly relating to accountability. Peacekeeping operations are undermined by the different immunities and jurisdictional gaps that exist when peacekeeping personnel (troops and civilians) commit criminal acts. The current legal position is that (i) troops are immune from host state jurisdiction, and (ii) civilian personnel are immune from the jurisdiction of any national court. The counterbalance for troops is that TCCs are under a duty to prosecute troops who commit crimes. The counterbalance for civilian personnel is the existence of a waiver. In practice those counterbalances are deployed only very rarely. That (a) undermines peacekeeping operations and (b) is in violation of victims’ fundamental rights to access a court and a remedy. The current laws have resulted in a culture of impunity. Personnel use the cloak of immunity to commit crimes knowing that they will not be held to account. Although the Zeid Report identified key reforms to address the culture of impunity surrounding sexual abuse, little has been done to implement those reforms. In order to strengthen peacekeeping operations’ legitimacy and activities it is vital to revisit and address the issue of immunity and jurisdictional gaps. Rather than tinkering around the edges of existing laws, it is time to explore a more concrete and viable alternative. To counterbalance immunities, the UN must consider creating courts to prosecute individuals who commit criminal...

Protection of Civilians and Raised Expectations

This article was part of the Briefing Book prepared for the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations by IPI and CIC.   In recent years, the United Nations has made significant advances with respect to the protection of civilians (PoC). Yet in South Sudan, Central African Republic, and elsewhere, these words from the “Brahimi Report” still ring true: “Promising to extend such protection establishes a very high threshold of expectation. The potentially large mismatch between desired objective and resources available to meet it raises the prospect of continuing disappointment.” It is therefore imperative that the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations place PoC at the heart of its analysis. The Panel should identify ways to improve PoC across the entire UN peace operations process – from budgeting to accountability. But crucially, the Panel should also acknowledge that UN missions cannot effectively protect civilians in all situations, and it should identify those settings in which different protection actors should be deployed. Since the “Brahimi Report,” the Security Council has included PoC more consistently in its operational mandates, and the UN system has enhanced its PoC doctrine and training. These changes, bolstered by leadership from certain member-states and individuals, have saved lives. However, key parts of the peace operations system have not made sufficient progress toward supporting PoC. The UN’s budget should incentivize troop-contributing countries to not only provide working equipment, but also to protect at-risk populations. Member-states should address the persistent shortfalls in logistics and information-gathering that hinder the UN’s response. And the near-total lack of accountability for troops – and troop contributors – for protection failures must be remedied....

Strengthening Human Rights in Peacekeeping

This article was part of the Briefing Book prepared for the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations by IPI and CIC.   1. Make human rights a more prominent focus of policy, operations, and advocacy. Since most conflicts arise from severe and systematic human rights violations, preventing further violations while supporting efforts to rectify past violations is central to the work undertaken by the UN. This has several ramifications. 2. Senior mission leadership must be highly familiar and comfortable with human rights issues. Leadership must not shy away from raising these issues in the right way at the right time. Public vs. private interventions, proposing solutions while simultaneously not backing down from raising negative assessments should be part of peace operations’ strategy. 3. Mission leaders should not identify “human rights” only with civil and political freedoms or only with adversarial  confrontations – so-called “naming and shaming.” Rather, human rights analyses, programs, and public statements should include economic, social, and cultural rights and programs addressing the state’s performance. 4. The rights to food, shelter, education, health care, and clean water are frequently violated in most countries where the UN sends peace operations. These violations often target ethnic, religious, racial or other minorities. These excluded groups unsurprisingly resent this discrimination and the resulting marginalization. 5. UN peace operations, working closely with UN Country Team agencies, should focus on development projects that will respond to these violations. UN agencies have the budget and the country knowledge but often lack the political clout to implement such programming which must include state accountability for achieving measurable improvements. 6. So Mission leaders should support efforts...

Views from the Field: Perspective on UN Presence in Côte d’Ivoire

The primary expectation of populations in the countries or regions where UN missions or operations deploy is that they will be afforded appropriate protection. Populations also expect UN peacekeepers to be model citizens that improve the regions to which they are deployed. Côte d’Ivoire makes no exception. Over a decade has passed since the UN began its peace operations in Côte d’Ivoire under the appellation UNOCI (the United Nations Operations in Côte d’Ivoire). Its primary objective was to enforce peace and foster hope in the West African nation where a failed 2002 military coup degenerated into a fierce belligerence between government troops, who controlled the south and a rebel group that held the northern part of the country. The mission undertook remarkable actions towards restoring peace in Côte d’Ivoire, but it is evident that some of its actions resulted in negative and unintended consequences upon locals. This contribution brings a local perspective on the presence of the United Nations peacekeepers in Côte d’Ivoire, with emphasis on two main aspects. Firstly, the reasons why the UN presence in the country was requested by the warring factions and the civil society, and secondly, the many challenges the UNOCI has faced since its deployment -challenges ranging from sexual exploitation and abuses to the incapacity to effectively provide protection for civilians. This paper ends with a summary of key lessons to be learned from the UN experience and presence in Côte d’Ivoire.   The failure of the Regional Force and the Request for a UN intervention The first multinational peacekeeping force deployed in Côte d’Ivoire with objectives including monitoring the implementation of the...
Bitnami