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Main article: "History of United Nations peacekeeping

Cold War peacekeeping[edit]

Peacekeepers' "Panhard "armoured car in the "Musée des Blindés, "Saumur, "France. These vehicles have served with the UN since the inception of "UNFICYP.
A Pakistani UNOSOM armed convoy making the rounds in Mogadishu.

United Nations peacekeeping was initially developed during the "Cold War as a means of resolving conflicts between states by deploying unarmed or lightly armed military personnel from a number of countries, under UN command, to areas where warring parties were in need of a neutral party to observe the peace process. Peacekeepers could be called in when the major international powers ("the five permanent members of the Security Council) tasked the UN with bringing closure to conflicts threatening regional stability and international peace and security. These included a number of so-called ""proxy wars" waged by client states of the "superpowers. As of February 2009, there have been "63 UN peacekeeping operations since 1948, with sixteen operations ongoing. Suggestions for new missions arise every year.

The first peacekeeping mission was launched in 1948. This mission, the "United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), was sent to the newly created "State of Israel, where a conflict between the Israelis and the Arab states over the creation of "Israel had just reached a "ceasefire. The UNTSO remains in operation to this day, although the "Israeli-Palestinian Conflict has certainly not abated. Almost a year later, the "United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was authorized to monitor relations between the two nations, which were split off from each other following the "United Kingdom's "decolonization of the "Indian subcontinent.

As the "Korean War ended with the "Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953,[7] UN forces remained along the south side of "demilitarized zone until 1967, when "American and South Korean forces took over.["citation needed]

Returning its attention to the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the United Nations responded to "Suez Crisis of 1956, a war between the alliance of the "United Kingdom, "France, and "Israel, and "Egypt, which was supported by other Arab nations. When a ceasefire was declared in 1957, "Canadian "Secretary of State for External Affairs[8] (and future Prime Minister) "Lester Bowles Pearson suggested that the United Nations station a peacekeeping force in the "Suez in order to ensure that the ceasefire was honored by both sides. Pearson had initially suggested that the force consist of mainly Canadian soldiers, but the Egyptians were suspicious of having a "Commonwealth nation defend them against the United Kingdom and her allies. In the end, a wide variety of national forces were drawn upon to ensure national diversity. Pearson would win the "Nobel Peace Prize for this work, and he is today considered a father of modern peacekeeping.["citation needed]

In 1988, the "Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the "United Nations peacekeeping forces. The press release stated that the forces "represent the manifest will of the community of nations" and have "made a decisive contribution" to the resolution of conflict around the world.

Since 1991[edit]

"Norwegian Peacekeeper during the "Siege of Sarajevo, 1992 - 1993.
Indian soldiers patrol under "UN mission in Congo, Africa
"Indian Army doctors attend to a child in "Congo

The end of the Cold War precipitated a dramatic shift in UN and multilateral peacekeeping. In a new spirit of cooperation, the "Security Council established larger and more complex UN peacekeeping missions, often to help implement comprehensive peace agreements between belligerents in intra-State conflicts and "civil wars. Furthermore, peacekeeping came to involve more and more non-military elements that ensured the proper functioning of civic functions, such as elections. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations was created in 1992 to support this increased demand for such missions.

By and large, the new operations were successful. In "El Salvador and "Mozambique, for example, peacekeeping provided ways to achieve self-sustaining peace. Some efforts failed, perhaps as the result of an overly optimistic assessment of what UN peacekeeping could accomplish. While complex missions in "Cambodia and Mozambique were ongoing, the Security Council dispatched peacekeepers to conflict zones like "Somalia, where neither ceasefires nor the consent of all the parties in conflict had been secured. These operations did not have the manpower, nor were they supported by the required political will, to implement their mandates. The failures—most notably the 1994 "Rwandan Genocide and the "1995 massacre in "Srebrenica and "Bosnia and Herzegovina—led to a period of retrenchment and self-examination in UN peacekeeping.

That period led, in part, to the "United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, which works to implement stable peace through some of the same civic functions that peacekeepers also work on, such as elections. The Commission currently works with six countries, all in Africa.[9]


Alpine Helicopters contract "Bell 212 on "UN peacekeeping duty in "Guatemala, 1998.
"San Martin Camp in "Cyprus. The "Argentine contingent includes troops from other "Latin American countries.
"Indian Army "T-72 tanks with UN markings as part of "Operation CONTINUE HOPE.

The "UN Charter stipulates that to assist in maintaining peace and security around the world, all member states of the UN should make available to the Security Council necessary armed forces and facilities. Since 1948, close to 130 nations have contributed military and civilian police personnel to peace operations. While detailed records of all personnel who have served in peacekeeping missions since 1948 are not available, it is estimated that up to one million soldiers, police officers and civilians have served under the UN flag in the last 56 years. As of June 2013, 114 countries were contributing a total 91,216 military observers, police, and troops to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.

As of 29 February 2016, 124 countries were contributing a total of 105,314 personnel in Peacekeeping Operations, with "Ethiopia leading the tally (8,324), followed by "India (7,695) and "Bangladesh (7,525).[10]

In June 2013. "Pakistan contributed the highest number overall with 8,186 personnel, followed by "India (7,878), "Bangladesh (7,799), "Ethiopia (6,502), "Rwanda (4,686), "Nigeria (4,684), "Nepal (4,495), "Jordan (3,374), "Ghana (2,859), and "Egypt (2,750).[11]

As of 28 February 2015, 120 countries were contributing a total of 104,928 personnel in Peacekeeping Operations, with Bangladesh leading the tally (9446).[12]

The former head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, "Jean-Marie Guéhenno, had reminded Member States that "the provision of well-equipped, well-trained and disciplined military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping operations is a collective responsibility of Member States. Countries from the "South should not and must not be expected to shoulder this burden alone."

As of March 2008, in addition to military and police personnel, 5,187 international civilian personnel, 2,031 UN Volunteers and 12,036 local civilian personnel worked in UN peacekeeping missions.[13]

A peacekeeping soldier of "Poland in "Syria

Through April 2008, 2,468 people from over 100 countries have been killed while serving on peacekeeping missions.[14] Many of those came from "India (127), "Canada (114) and "Ghana (113). Thirty percent of the fatalities in the first 55 years of UN peacekeeping occurred in the years 1993-1995. About 4.5% of the troops and civilian police deployed in UN peacekeeping missions come from the "European Union and less than one percent from the "United States (USA).[15]

The rate of reimbursement by the UN for troop-contributing countries per peacekeeper per month include: $1,028 for pay and allowances; $303 supplementary pay for specialists; $68 for personal clothing, gear and equipment; and $5 for personal weaponry.[16]


According to scholar Page Fortna, there is strong evidence that the presence of peacekeepers significantly reduces the risk of renewed warfare; more peacekeeping troops leads to fewer battlefield deaths; and more peacekeeping troops leads to fewer civilian deaths.[17] There is also evidence that the promise to deploy peacekeepers can help an international organizations bring combatants to the negotiation table and increase the likelihood that they will agree to a cease-fire.[18]

The findings of one study suggests that stronger PKO mandates and a doubling of the PKO budget would reduce armed conflicts by up to two thirds relative to a scenario without PKOs.[19]

Crimes by peacekeepers[edit]

Peacekeeping, human trafficking, and forced prostitution[edit]

Child sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers

Reporters witnessed a rapid increase in prostitution in "Cambodia and "Mozambique after UN peacekeeping forces moved in. In the 1996 UN study "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."[20]

"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: "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."[21]

Human rights violations in United Nations missions[edit]

The following table chart illustrates confirmed accounts of crimes and human rights violations committed by United Nations soldiers, peacekeepers, and employees.[22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33]

A comparison of incidents involving United Nations peacekeepers, troops, and employees.
Conflict United Nations Mission Sexual abuse1 Murder2 Extortion/Theft3
"Second Congo War "United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo 150 3 44
"Somali Civil War "United Nations Operation in Somalia II 5 24 5
"Sierra Leone Civil War "United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone 50 7 15
"Eritrean-Ethiopian War "United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea 70 15 0
"Burundi Civil War "United Nations Operation in Burundi 80 5 0
"Rwanda Civil War "United Nations Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda 65 15 0
"Second Liberian Civil War "United Nations Mission in Liberia 30 4 1
"Second Sudanese Civil War "United Nations Mission in Sudan 400 5 0
"Côte d'Ivoire Civil War "United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire 500 2 0
"2004 Haitian coup d'état "United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti 110 57 0
"Kosovo War "United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo 800 70 100
"Israeli–Lebanese conflict "United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon 0 6 0

Proposed reform[edit]

Brahimi analysis[edit]

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. 2008 capstone doctrine entitled "United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines"[5] incorporates and builds on the Brahimi analysis.

Rapid reaction force[edit]

One suggestion to account for delays such as the one in Rwanda, is a rapid reaction force: a standing group, administered by the UN and deployed by the Security Council, that receives its troops and support from current Security Council members and is ready for quick deployment in the event of future genocides.[34]

Restructuring of the UN secretariat[edit]

The UN peacekeeping capacity was enhanced in 2007 by augmenting the DPKO with the new Department of Field Support (DFS). Whereas the new entity serves as a key enabler by co-ordinating the administration and logistics in UN peacekeeping operations, DPKO concentrates on policy planning and providing strategic directions.["citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UN Peacekeeping Fact Sheet: 30 June 2013; accessed: August 7, 2013
  2. ^ "Financing peacekeeping". 
  3. ^ United Nations Peacekeeping
  4. ^ a b Nau, Henry (2015). Perspectives on International Relations. Washington DC: CQ Press. p. 252. "ISBN "978-1-4522-4148-7. 
  5. ^ a b DPKO Capstone Doctrine
  6. ^ "United Nations troop and police contributors archive (1990 - 2013)". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "The Korean War armistice". BBC News. 2015-03-05. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  8. ^ "Lester B. Pearson: 1957 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient". 
  9. ^ "Beyond Peace Deals: The United Nations Experiment in "Peacebuilding"". 
  10. ^ "Contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations, 29th February, 2016" (PDF). 
  11. ^ Ranking of Military and Police Contributions to UN Operations accessed August 7, 2013.
  12. ^ Monthly Summary of Contributions (Police, UN Military Experts on Mission and Troops)accessed February, 2015.
  13. ^ Background Note – United Nations Peacekeeping Operations
  14. ^ United Nations peacekeeping – Fatalities By Year up to 31 Dec 2008
  15. ^ "Peacekeeping Fact Sheet". United Nations. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  16. ^ United Nations Peacekeepers - How are peacekeepers compensated?
  17. ^ "Enough with the Pessimism about Peacekeeping". Political Violence @ a Glance. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  18. ^ Lundgren, Magnus (2016). "Which international organizations can settle civil wars?". Review of International Organizations. DOI 10.1007/s11558-016-9253-0. 
  19. ^ "Evaluating the conflict-reducing effect of UN peacekeeping operations" (PDF). 
  20. ^ The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children
  21. ^ "Sex charges haunt UN forces; In places like Congo and Kosovo, peacekeepers have been accused of abusing the people they're protecting," "Christian Science Monitor, 26 November 2004, accessed 16 February 2010
  22. ^ 1 : compiled from the corresponding Wikipedia articles. When a range was given, the median was used.
  23. ^ 2 United Nations Foundation.
  24. ^ 3 Congo's Desperate 'One-Dollar U.N. Girls'
  25. ^ UN troops face child abuse claims
  26. ^ The U.N. Sex Scandal
  27. ^ UN troops buy sex from teenage refugees in Congo camp
  28. ^ UN Peacekeepers Criticized
  29. ^ Global Rules Now Apply to Peacekeepers
  30. ^ Victims of Peace: Current Abuse Allegations against U.N. Peacekeepers and the Role of Law in Preventing Them in the Future
  31. ^ No One to Turn To - BBC Analysis
  32. ^ UN staff accused of raping children in Sudan
  34. ^ Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, 2000.

Further reading[edit]

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