Find a Security Clearance Job!


(Resolution seeks to ensure safety of peacekeepers)  (710)
By Judy Aita
USIA United Nations Correspondent
United Nations -- The U.N. Security Council has moved to bolster the safety
of the more than 100,000 United Nations soldiers and civilians under
increasing attack around the world.
Unanimously adopting a resolution on "the safety and security" of U.N.
personnel September 29, the council said that future U.N. operations will
require host governments to ensure personnel safety.
The council said that attacks and use of force against U.N. personnel will
be considered interference with council mandates and that perpetrators
1ould be punished -- though the resolution did not specify how.  If a host
country is unable or unwilling to meet its obligations to protect U.N.
personnel, the council "will consider what steps should be taken
appropriate to the situation," the resolution said.
The council also instructed Secretary General Boutros-Ghali to implement
suggestions he made on security measures in a report last month.  It called
attention to what the council will consider when deciding whether to
establish or renew the mandate of a peacekeeping mission: host country
security arrangements that include all U.N. personnel, a negotiated status
of operation agreement with the host country, and a requirement that the
host country take steps necessary to ensure the safety of the U.N. mission.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Donald McKinnon, whose nation has troops in
several peacekeeping missions, said his delegation would urge the General
Assembly to enact a new international treaty that would establish criminal
responsibility for attacks on U.N. peacekeeping and humanitarian relief
Pakistan has suffered the highest number of fatalities in Somalia and its
ambassador, Jamsheed Marker, said the resolution shows that the "council is
prepared to take necessary measures" to correct the situation.
About 80,000 peacekeepers and thousands of other civilians deliver
humanitarian aid and serve as human rights monitors and election observers
for the United Nations in 14 operations.
While primary responsibility for the safety of U.N. personnel rests with the
host government, many are incapable of carrying out that responsibility.
Peacekeeping forces are armed and authorized to use their weapons in
self-defense, and in the past year the United Nations also has authorized
its peacekeepers to use force when necessary -- to disarm violent Somali
factions and to protect council-declared safe areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
But some argue that these well-intended steps have actually increased
chances of peacekeepers becoming targets of violence.
U.N. operations face a number of other difficulties, including the hijacking
of goods and equipment in humanitarian operations.
In the past relief personnel were assured protection by virtue of their
association with the United Nations.  But "this is no longer the case,"
Boutros-Ghali said in his report to the council.  "On the contrary,
personnel are more and more often at risk because of such association."
"In addition, actions by the United Nations in one part of the globe can
generate threats to United Nations personnel in another," he said.
Casualties have mounted.  In 1992, one staff member was killed on average
every month; in 1993, the rate has been about one every two weeks.
Military personnel suffered 97 fatalities in the first half of this year --
more than 50 peacekeepers have been killed in Somalia alone.  Over the
years, 949 have died in various peacekeeping operations.
Boutros-Ghali said the United Nations is giving priority to improving
communications and training staff in security matters.  The new
peacekeeping operations center will have security staff on call at all
times, and the secretary general asked member states to provide
intelligence information about possible threats and risks for U.N.
In the long-term, he said, new international laws should be adopted relating
to the security and safety of U.N. forces and personnel.  A new
international agreement also should be drafted to codify and develop
customary international laws that would be open for signature by member
1n the short-term, he suggested that the General Assembly adopt a
declaration drawing attention to the critical importance of the security
and safety of U.N. forces and personnel.

Join the mailing list