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United Nations Peacekeeping

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Peacekeeping has witnessed significant growth since the 1990 have evolved to become a cornerstone of the international community’s response to in international crises. It helps courtiers torn by conflicts create conditions for sustainable peace. Peacekeeping began with a primarily military model of observing ceasefires and separating combatants after inter-state wars. Today peacekeeping has evolved and expanded into an intergraded system of many elements military, police and civilian personnel, working together to build peace in the dangerous aftermath of conflict (Parliamentary Hearing at the UN 2008). Peacekeeping missions deploy where others cannot or will not and play a vital role in providing a bridge to stability and eventual long-term peace and development.

Following the downfall of President Siad Barre in 1991, a civil war broke out in Somalia between the faction supporting Interim President Ali Mahdi Mohamed and that supporting General Mohamed Farah Aidid. The United Nations, in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity and other organizations, sought to resolve the conflict. The Secretary-General in 1991 dispatched an envoy to which all faction leaders expressed support for a United Nations peace role. The United Nations also became engaged in providing humanitarian aid, in cooperation with relief organizations. The war had resulted in nearly 1million refugees and almost 5 million people threatened by hunger and disease.

The Somalia Intervention can be sprit into three phases:

2.2.1. UNOSOM I
Duration Strength Fatalities Expenditure April 1992 – March 1993 50 military observers, 3,500 security personnel and up to 719 military support personnel, supported by international civilian and local staff 6 military personnel $42.9 million net

Established in April 1992 by Resolution 751, UNOSOM I was initially composed of 50 ceasefire monitors to implement ‘protection and security for United Nations personnel, equipment and supplies at the seaports and airports in Moqdishu and escort deliveries of humanitarian supplies’ (United Nations Homepage 1 Date Unknown).

2.2.2. UNITAF
The Unified Task Force (UNITAF), made up of contingents from 24 countries led by the United States, quickly secured all major relief centers, and by year’s end humanitarian aid was again flowing. UNOSOM remained responsible for protecting the delivery of assistance and for political efforts to end the war.

2.2.3. UNISOM II
Duration Strength Fatalities Expenditure March 1993 – March 1995 Approximately 28,000 military and police personnel; there was also a
provision for some 2,800 international and locally recruited staff 147 (143 military personnel, 3 international civilian staff and 1 local staff) $1,643,485,500 net

The Security Council in March decided on a transition from UNITAF to a new United Nations peacekeeping operation UNOSOM II, authorizing it to use force if necessary to ensure its mandate, securing a stable environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. UNOSOM was also mandated to assist in the reconstruction of economic, social and political life (United Nations Homepage 2 Date Unknown).

Somalia is viewed as a powerful symbol of United Nations peacekeeping failure. It is a clear example where the initial response to insecurity and famine was not also accompanied by sufficient support to achieve long-term solutions. The follow-on UN operation included ambitious security and political tasks but without commensurate means to realize them. ’The following factors contributed to that political/military failure: the lack of an achievable military and political objective; the inability of the international community to respond quickly to Somalia’s mass famine; internecine warfare; the impact of the media on military operations; the absence of an articulated foreign policy toward Somalia; and the lack of American public support for continued operations. But the situation in Somalia is far more complex (Crocker 1995).

In 1973, a coup d’etat organized by the Hutu extremist General Juvental Habyarimana, overthrew the existing government. This dictator encourages discrimination between the Hutus and the Tusis. In 1990, violent clashes broke out between Habyarimana’s and RPF’s armies. Rwanda Tutsis and moderate Hutus also became the targets of attacks by Habyrimana’s forces. Despite the signature of the Arusha Decleration of 1193, the conflict worsened after the suspicious death of Habayarimana in 1994. The massacre of Tutis and moderate Hutus began. (Histori Homepage Date Unknown)

Duration Strength Fatalities Expenditure October 1993-March 1996 2,548 military personnel, including 2,217 formed troops and 331 military observers, and 60 civilian police; supported by international and locally recruited civilian staff 27 (3 military observers , 22 other military personnel, 1 civilian police and 1 local staff) $453.9 million (net)

United Nations Homepage 3, Date Unknown

UNAMIR was established on 5 October 1993 by Security Council Resolution 872. Its mandate included “ensuring the security of the capital city of Kigali; monitoring the ceasefire agreement, in- cluding establishment of an expanded demilitarized zone and demobilization procedures; monitoring the security situation during the final period of the transitional Government’s mandate leading up to elections; assisting with mine-clearance; and assisting in the coordination of humanitarian assistance activities in conjunction with relief operations.” On April 6, 1994 after the mysterious death of President Habyarimana and President Cyprien Ntaryamira the unstable peace in Rwanda collapsed and the Rwandan Genocide took place, estimated to have claimed between 800,000 and 1,017,100 Tutsi and Hutu victims over 100 days. Understaffed and abandoned, UNAMIR did the best it could with what forces remained. In July 1994, the RPF swept into Kigali and ended the genocide that had lasted 100 days. (Wikipedia Homepage Date Unknown)

The Peacekeepers, who were assigned to the site to keep the peace, found themselves powerless in the face of this all-out genocide taking place before their very eyes. Indeed, insufficient troops, coupled with a restricted. In less than four months, the death toll reached one million, most of the victims being Tutsis and moderate Hutus. When the RPF took power, more than two million Hutus fled to border countries. They eventually returned under the supervision of the UN with the approval of the Rwanda Patriotic Front but then food shortages reached crisis levels with one third of the population suffering from malnutrition. There were also many orphans and increasing cases of AIDS. (Histori Homepage Date Unknown)

Serious fighting in Croatia began in June 1991 Slovenia, declared themselves independent from Yugoslavia, and Serbs living in Croatia, supported by the Yugoslav People’s Army, opposed this move. Efforts by the European Community to stop the hostilities in mid-1991 and to resolve the crisis in the framework of the Conference on Yugoslavia had proved unsuccessful.

Duration Strength Fatalities Expenditure February 1992 – March 1995 38,599 military personnel, including 684 United Nations military observers; the Force also included 803 civilian police, 2,017 other international civilian staff and 2,615 local staff. 167 (3 military observers, 159 other military personnel, 1 civilian police, 2 international civilian staff and 2 local staff) $4,616,725,556 net

(United Nations Homepage 4 Date Unknown)

UNPROFOR was established in Croatia as a temporary arrangement to create the conditions of peace and security required for the negotiation of an overall settlement of the Yugoslav crisis. UNPROFOR’s mandate was to ensure that the three “United Nations Protected Areas” in Croatia were demilitarized and that all persons residing in them were protected. In addition, UNPROFOR monitored implementation of a cease-fire agreement signed by the Croatian Government and local Serb authorities in March 1994 following a flare-up of fighting in January and September 1993. In June

1992, as the conflict intensified and extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNPROFOR’s mandate and strength were enlarged (UNPROFOR II) in order to ensure the security and functioning of the airport at Sarajevo, and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to that city and its environs. In five Bosnian towns “safe areas” were established (pkops Homepage Date Unknown).

However, from the very outset of this peacekeeping operation UNPROFOR faced major obstacles in the implementation of its mandate. Firstly, the UN troops were not heavily armed and secondly their number was so low that it made them little more than exposed targets. They could not achieve their goals because that would mean getting involved in armed clashes with the warring factions. Enforcing peace was not part of their mandate. More importantly, fighting against any of the three major factions could be immediately considered as taking sides, which was contradictory to the philosophy of peacekeeping missions.

This contrast between the wishes of international public – horrified by news about ethnic cleansing – on one hand and limitations of the UNPROFOR peacekeeping mission plus unwillingness to change the mission status, on the other hand formed the core of UNPROFOR’s failure (Sheridan 1993). Attack on Srebrenica: July 1995 The UN forces were unable to provide protection for civilians, and “safe-areas” did not provide safety. That was proven on July 11, were Bosnian Serb forces advanced on Srebrenica, overwhelming a battalion of Dutch peacekeeping forces stationed there. They subsequently separated the Bosniak civilians at Srebrenica, putting the women and girls on buses and sending them to Bosnian-held territory. Some of the women were raped or sexually assaulted, while the men and boys who remained behind were killed immediately or bussed to mass killing sites. Estimates of Bosniaks killed by Serb forces at Srebrenica range from around 7,000 to more than 8,000 (History Homepage Date Unknown).

Consent and Sincerity Consent is important because if lost, the operation can only implement its mandate by military force. If an operation is then not longer regarded as impartial, this would mean that it would loose its peacekeeping character and that it would cross the line into war fighting. Additionally, sincerity at the time of after signing a peace agreement is regarded to be sufficient. Impartiality and the Non-Use of Force Peacekeeping operations need to remain impartial and since otherwise it runs the risk of losing the consent of the parties and becoming a party itself in the conflict. The principle of non-use of force is closely related to impartiality, as it is more likely that an operation is regarded to be impartial if no force is used. Co-Operation from Important Outside Actors Strong political support by the international community and the provision of the resources are necessary for the success of an operation. Also the chances for success of a peacekeeping operation are larger if the ‘international community’ embodied by the permanent members of the Security Council and the troop contributing countries fully support the operation and back it with funds and resources.

Sense of Security of the Parties In order to increase the chance of a successful disarmament and demobilization process, an operation requires sufficient strength to guarantee the security of the parties. The parties often face a security dilemma, in which they have armed themselves for the purpose of self-defense. Clear, Appropriate and Achievable Mandate The objectives stated in a mission’s mandate are generally regarded to be of enormous importance to the. A clear, credible and achievable mandate is very important for a peacekeeping operation to be successful; therefore good planning is a necessity. Timely Deployment and at the Right Time There is a tendency to pay attention to conflicts only once they have reached the level of crisis or war. At a stage of high intensity the ‘policy tools’ to positively influence the course of a conflict is limited. Furthermore since at such a late stage only little time exists to analyze the causes of conflict, there is a tendency to react to events, rather than to follow a proactive policy.

Competent Leadership and Personnel Effective command structures are important to enhance the chances for success. The tenor of an entire mission can be heavily influenced by the character and ability of those who lead it. Also contributive to operational success are military and civilian personnel. Sufficiently Long Duration Missions with longer duration have a larger chance of success than shorter operations. Although ‘a lengthy international presence’ does not ensure success ‘an early departure guarantees failure’. Nonetheless, in order to maintain the credibility and effectiveness of peacekeeping in general the United Nations has to establish a clear termination point or clear termination criteria, to ensure that the renewal of mandates does not become routine. Internal and External Co-Ordination Co-ordination and co-operation, both internally and externally, is regarded to be very important for peacekeeping operations to succeed. Externally operations must be embedded in a broader and more comprehensive strategy to resolve the conflict and to build durable peace. For this purpose the operation is expected to coordinate with organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to solve the underlying causes of the conflict. Without such co-ordination, if the peacemakers fail, the peacekeepers may become trapped between the parties.

Peacekeeping operations should not be prepared for best-case scenarios, but for worst-case scenarios. The above recommendations prove that the theory of UN peacekeeping operations still needs adjustment and refinements. Some of these adjustments are lessons, which also have been learned in the past UN peacekeeping operations. Present-day UN peacekeeping operations are, for example, generally robustly mandated. There is no perfect plan for successful UN peacekeeping operation. But also the new experiences of future operations and continuous improvements will hopefully provide more pieces to further solve disputes, end genocides and stop wars all around the world (Lijn Date Unknown).


Crocker C. A., June 1995. The Lessons of Somalia http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/50967/chester-a-crocker/the-lessons-of-somalia-not-everything-wentwrong (Accessed 6th December 2012) Histori Homepage, Date Unknown. Peacekeeping in Rwanda Available online at: http://www.histori.ca/peace/page.do?pageID=339 (Accessed 6th December 2012) History Homepage, Date Unknown. Bosnian Genocide Available online at: http://www.history.com/topics/bosnian-genocide (Accessed 6th December 2012) Lijn J. v. d., Date Unknown. UN Peacekeeping Operations. http://www.stanford.edu/class/e297a/United%20Nations%20Peacekeeping%20Operations.pdf (Accessed 6th December 2012) Parliamentary Hearing at the UN. November 2008. New York. UN Peacekeeping: The Challenges Ahead Available online at: http://www.ipu.org/splz-e/unga08/s4.pdf (Accessed 6th December

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