Peacekeeping: December 13, 2002


  The UN peacekeeping programs are increasingly running into serious problems recruiting and supervising peacekeepers. Since 1948, there have been 55 peacekeeping operations, and 15 of these are currently Active. As of 1 October 2002, there were about 55,300 peacekeepers in the field (of whom 11,000 were civilians.) 

The four most common tasks of peacekeepers are;

@ Deploy to prevent the outbreak of conflict or the spill-over of conflict across borders; 

@ Keeping the peace after a ceasefire in order to create conditions where the warring parties can negotiate a lasting peace agreement; 

@ Assist in carrying out the details of peace agreements. This includes disarming troops (according to agreed upon terms), seeing that surrendered weapons are guarded and, according to the situation, destroyed. 

@ Lead the protected population through the transition to stable government based on democratic principles, good governance and economic development. 

The current UN peacekeeping operations are (with date they began);

Western Sahara April 1991
Sierra Leone Oct. 1999

Congo Dec. 1999 
Ethiopia and Eritrea July 2000
Middle East June 1948
Golan Heights June 1974

Lebanon March 1978
Iraq/Kuwait April 1991

India/Pakistan Jan. 1949
East Timor May 2002

Cyprus March 1964
Georgia Aug. 1993

Bosnia & Herzegovina Dec. 1995
Croatia Feb. 1996
Kosovo June 1999

The top contributors of peacekeeping personnel (including civilians) has been; Bangladesh (5,479), Pakistan (4,831), Nigeria (3,489), India (3,019), Ghana (2,489). China is now willing to provide troops. 

The growing problem is getting well trained and reliable troops for peacekeeping duty. The industrialized nations have the the best trained and most reliable troops, but these nations are reluctant to send these soldiers on peacekeeping jobs. This is because the peacekeeping work is unpopular with the troops, who have to do everything by the book and take a lot of abuse from the locals. No so in Third World nations, where the UN pay is much greater than what the troops usually get at home. Even if their government keeps most of the extra money, the troops find there are many money  making opportunities (mostly illegal) while peacekeeping. Smuggling, the black market, prostitution, drugs and so on are all activities too many peacekeepers are getting into. The UN has tried to keep these problems quiet, but this has been increasingly difficult as more locals and other aid workers complain to the press about these activities. 




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