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United Nations soldiers, part of United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, monitoring the Eritrea-Ethiopia boundary.

Peacekeeping refers to activities that tend to create conditions that favor lasting peace.[1]

Within the United Nations group of nation-state governments and organizations, there is a general understanding that at the international level, peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas, and may assist ex-combatants in implementing peace agreement commitments that they have undertaken. Such assistance may come in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development. Accordingly, UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.[2][3]

The United Nations is not the only organization to implement peacekeeping missions. Non-UN peacekeeping forces include the EUFOR RCA (with UN authorization). The Nonviolent Peaceforce is one NGO widely considered to have expertise in general peacemaking by non-governmental volunteers or activists.[4]


  • Process and structure 1
    • Formation 1.1
  • History 2
    • Creation 2.1
    • Cold War peacekeeping 2.2
    • Since 1991 2.3
    • Gallantry awards 2.4
      • Captain Salaria – Congo 2.4.1
    • Non-United Nations peacekeeping 2.5
  • Participation 3
  • Considerations 4
    • Gender and Peacekeeping 4.1
    • Military Normalization 4.2
    • Political Impact on Sending Countries 4.3
    • Impact on the peacekeepers 4.4
  • Criticism 5
    • Peacekeeping, human trafficking, and forced prostitution 5.1
    • Peacekeepers and the Haiti cholera crisis 5.2
  • Proposed reform 6
    • Brahimi analysis 6.1
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9

Process and structure


Australian U.N. peacekeepers in East Timor in May 2002.

Romeo Dallaire, force commander in Rwanda during the Rwandan Genocide there, described the problems this poses by comparison to more traditional military deployments:

He told me the UN was a 'pull' system, not a 'push' system like I had been used to with NATO, because the UN had absolutely no pool of resources to draw on. You had to make a request for everything you needed, and then you had to wait while that request was analyzed...For instance, soldiers everywhere have to eat and drink. In a push system, food and water for the number of soldiers deployed is automatically supplied. In a pull system, you have to ask for those rations, and no common sense seems to ever apply.
— Shake Hands With the Devil, Dallaire, pp. 99-100)



After Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, Britain, France and Israel attempted to intervene without success. This led to the 1956 Suez Crisis. Both sides wanted to cease hostilities, but a consensus did not take place. During a UN meeting on November 4, 1956, Lester Pearson, a Canadian diplomat, proposed the idea of a peacekeeping force wearing blue helmets for identification. Their goal was to ensure peace in a conflict and monitor the events. Pearson came up with the idea that each country would assign soldiers to the UN peacekeeping force. This was the first UN peacekeeping mission and the concept of peacekeeping was born.[5]

Cold War peacekeeping

United Nations peacekeeping missions as of 2012

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.[6]

Since 1991

Norwegian Peacekeeper during the Siege of Sarajevo, 1992 - 1993, photo by Mikhail Evstafiev.

Experiences of peacekeeping during the [9]

Gallantry awards

Captain Salaria – Congo

In November 1961 the UN Security Council moved to prevent hostilities by Katangese troops in Congo. This caused Moise Tshombe, the Katanga secessionist leader to step up attacks on UN troops. On December 5, 1961, an Indian UN company supported by 3-inch (76 mm) mortar attacked a Katangese roadblock between the Katangese headquarters and the Elisabethville airfield. A Gurkha platoon attempted to link up with the company and reinforce the roadblock, but ran into opposition near the old airfield. The platoon attack on the rebel position, manned by about 90 Katangese troops, was led by Indian Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria. Despite having only 16 soldiers and being outgunned, Captain Salaria and his Gurkha soldiers' ferocity overwhelmed the enemy, who fled. In this engagement, Captain Salaria was shot in his neck, but continued to fight till he succumbed to his injuries. Due to his selfless act of courage, the UN Headquarters in Elisabethville was saved from encirclement and Captain Salaria was awarded India's highest military award, the Param Vir Chakra.[10][11]

Non-United Nations peacekeeping

Canadian CH135 Twin Hueys assigned to the Multinational Force and Observers non-UN peacekeeping force, at El Gorah, Sinai, Egypt, 1989.

Not all international peacekeeping forces have been directly controlled by the United Nations. In 1981, an agreement between Israel and Egypt formed the Multinational Force and Observers which continues to monitor the Sinai Peninsula.[12]

The African Union (AU) is working on building an African Peace and Security Architecture that fulfills the mandate to enforce peace and security on the continent. In cases of genocide or other serious human-rights violations, an AU-mission could be launched even against the wishes of the government of the country concerned, as long as it is approved by the AU General Assembly. The establishment of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) which includes the African Standby Force (ASF) is planned earliest for 2015.[13]


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.
Filipino police officers serving with UNMIT in 2007
Indian Army T-72 tanks with UN markings as part of Operation CONTINUE HOPE.
USS New Jersey fires her 16-inch guns at Beirut in support of the Multinational Force peacekeeping mission, 9 January 1984

The United Nations 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, about 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 March 2008, 113 countries were contributing a total 88,862 military observers, police, and troops.[14]

Despite the large number of contributors, the greatest burden continues to be borne by a core group of developing countries, who often profit financially from their participation in such missions. The ten largest troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations as of December 2013 were Pakistan (8266), Bangladesh (7918), India (7849), Nigeria (4836), Nepal (4580), Jordan (3254), Ghana (3005), Rwanda (4751), Senegal (2998), and Egypt (2742).[15]

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.[16]

As of 30 June 2014, 3,243 people from over 100 countries have been killed while serving on peacekeeping missions.[17] Many of those came from India (157), Nigeria (142), Pakistan (136), Ghana (132), Canada (121), France (110) and the United Kingdom (103). Thirty percent of the fatalities in the first 55 years of UN peacekeeping occurred between 1993 and 1995.

Developing nations tend to participate in peacekeeping more than developed countries. This may be due in part because forces from smaller countries avoid evoking thoughts of imperialism. For example, in December 2005, Eritrea expelled all American, Russian, European, and Canadian personnel from the peacekeeping mission on their border with Ethiopia. Additionally, an economic motive appeals to the developing countries. 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.[18] This can be a significant source of revenue for a developing country. By providing important training and equipment for the soldiers as well as salaries, UN peacekeeping missions allow them to maintain larger armies than they otherwise could. 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.[19]


Gender and Peacekeeping

Security Council Resolution 1325 was the first major step taken by the UN to include women as active and equal actors in “the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security”.[20][21] A critique of this resolution is that UNSCR 1325 proposes the implementing gender mainstreaming, however the progress that has been accomplished in this area has focused on women, rather than on assessing the impacts of planned action on both men and women. In 2010, a comprehensive 10-year impact study was conducted to assess the success of this resolution and found that the there was limited success with the implementation, particularly in the increasing women’s participation in peace negotiations and peace agreements, and sexual and gender-based violence has continued to be prevalent, despite efforts to reduce it.[22]

In 2013 the [9]

Military Normalization

Some commentators have highlighted the potential to leverage peacekeeping operations as a mechanism for advancing military normalization. Michael Edward Walsh and Jeremy Taylor have argued that Japan's peacekeeping operations in South Sudan provide those promoting Japan's military normalization with "a unique opportunity to further erode the country’s pacifist constitution."[23] "(U)nable to accept the full weight of modern peacekeeping operations without fundamental political, legal, and social changes," they conclude that "Japan’s peacekeepers remain ill prepared to tackle many serious contingencies requiring use of deadly force."[24] For this reason, they suggest that Japan's continued participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations might force policy changes that ultimately push the country toward "a tipping point from which the normalization of Japan’s military (will be) the only outcome."[23]

Political Impact on Sending Countries

Diana Muir Appelbaum, has expressed concern that the creation of a military in Fiji for the purpose of serving in international peacekeeping missions, has produced a military powerful enough to stage 4 coups d’état (1987, 1999–2000, 2006, and 2009) and to rule Fiji as a military dictatorship for over two decades.[25]

Impact on the peacekeepers

Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda to ten Belgian peacekeepers of UNAMIR who were massacred by Hutu paramilitaries in 1994

Studies of peacekeeping soldiers show both positive and negative effects. A study of 951 US Army soldiers assigned to Bosnia revealed that 77% reported some positive consequences, 63% reported a negative consequence, and 47% reported both.[26] The peacekeepers are exposed to danger caused by the warring parties and often in an unfamiliar climate. This gives rise to different mental health problems, suicide, and substance abuse as shown by the percentage of former peacekeepers with those problems. Having a parent in a mission abroad for an extended period is also stressful to the peacekeepers' families.[27]

Another viewpoint raises the problem that the peacekeeping may soften the troops and erode their combat ability, as the mission profile of a peacekeeping contingent is totally different from the profile of a unit fighting an all-out war.[28][29]


Peacekeeping, human trafficking, and forced prostitution

Reporters witnessed a rapid increase in prostitution in [30]

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 that 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".[31]

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica apologized to Haitian President Michel Martelly over the alleged rape of an 18-year-old Haitian man by Uruguayan UN peacekeeping troops. Martelly said "a collective rape carried out against a young Haitian" would not go unpunished. Four soldiers suspected of being involved in the rape have been detained.[32][33]

Peacekeepers and the Haiti cholera crisis

Significant scientific evidence, first reported by the Associated Press,[34] and later the New York Times,[35] Al Jazeera,[36] and ABC News[37] has shown that Nepalese Peacekeeping troops stationed at a remote base in Mirebalais, Haiti, triggered a deadly cholera epidemic that has ravaged the country since October 2010. Cholera is a waterborne disease that causes diarrhea and vomiting, and it can kill in a matter of hours if patients do not receive rehydration intervention. As of July 2012, Haiti's cholera epidemic was the worst in the world:[38] about 7,500 had died and about 585,000 Haitians (about 1 in every 20 Haitians) had become ill with the disease.[39]

According to the UN-appointed Independent Panel of Experts on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti, the conditions at the Peacekeeping base were unsafe, and allowed contamination of Haiti's river systems in at least two ways: "The construction of the water pipes in the main toilet/showering area [was] haphazard, with significant potential for cross-contamination...especially from pipes that run over an open drainage ditch that runs throughout the camp and flows directly into the Meye Tributary System".[40] Additionally, the Independent Panel reported that on a regular basis black water waste from the Mirebalais base and two other bases was deposited in an open, unfenced septic pit that was susceptible to flooding and would overflow into the Meye Tributary during rainfall.[40]

In November 2011, over 5,000 victims of the cholera epidemic filed a claim with the UN's internal claims mechanism seeking redress in the form of clean water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to control the epidemic, compensation for individual losses, and an apology.[41] In July 2012, 104 Members of the United States Congress signed a letter affirming that the "actions of the UN" had brought cholera to Haiti and that the UN should "confront and ultimately eliminate cholera".[42] In 2013 the UN rejected the claim and the victims' lawyers have pledged to sue the UN in court.[43]

Proposed reform

Brahimi analysis

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. A 2008 capstone doctrine entitled "United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines"[44] incorporates and builds on the Brahimi analysis.

See also


  1. ^ "United Nations Peacekeeping". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  2. ^ United Nations Peacekeeping. "Department of Peacekeeping Operations(DPKO)". United Nations Peacekeeping. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  3. ^ United Nations Peacekeeping. "Department of Field Support(DFS)". United Nations Peacekeeping. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  4. ^ Home Jobs Donate Offices. "Nonviolent Peaceforce". Nonviolent Peaceforce. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  5. ^ "Les Archives de Radio-Canada". Casques bleus, soldats de la paix. Radio-Canada. 
  6. ^ "United Nations Peacekeeping Forces - History". Retrieved 2013-07-28. 
  7. ^ """Beyond Peace Deals: The United Nations Experiment in "Peacebuilding. 
  8. ^ a b "UN Security Council Takes a Historic Stand Supporting Abortion Access for Women Raped in War / Library / Homepage". AWID. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  9. ^ a b c d
  10. ^ Rakshak, Bharat (n.d.). "Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  11. ^ Shorey, Anil (April 2004). "Captain Courage". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  12. ^ 10 Tactical Air Group: Canadian Contingent Multinational Force and Observers Handbook (unclassified), page A-1. DND, Ottawa, 1986.
  13. ^ "The African Peace and Security Architecture is already proving useful even though it is still work in progress". 27 August 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  14. ^ Contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations
  15. ^ "Monthly Summary of Contributors to UN Peacekeeping Operations" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  16. ^ Background Note - United Nations Peacekeeping Operations
  17. ^ United Nations peacekeeping - Fatalities By Year up to 30 June 2014
  18. ^ "United Nations Peacekeepers - How are peacekeepers compensated?". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  19. ^ "Peacekeeping Fact Sheet". United Nations. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  20. ^ Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women (2013). “Landmark Resolution on Women Peace and Security”, United Nations.
  21. ^ United Nations Security Council (October 31, 2000) “Resolution 1325”, S/RES/1325, United Nations.
  22. ^ United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support (2010). “Ten-year Impact Study on Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security in Peacekeeping”, United Nations, p. 9-10.
  23. ^ a b Jeremy Taylor and Michael Edward Walsh (7 January 2014), UN Operations in Africa Provide a Mechanism for Japan’s Military Normalization Agenda, retrieved 7 February 2014
  24. ^ Michael Edward Walsh and Jeremy Taylor (23 December 2013), Time to Reconsider the Japanese Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan, retrieved 7 February 2014
  25. ^ Appelbaum, Diana Muir (27 August 2012), How the Sinai Peacekeeping Force Staged a Military Coup in Fiji, retrieved 7 September 2012
  26. ^ Newby, John H., et al. "Positive and negative consequences of a military deployment." Military Medicine (2005) 170#10 pp: 815-819
  27. ^ Wanderson Fernandes Souza, et al. "Posttraumatic stress disorder in peacekeepers: a meta-analysis." The Journal of nervous and mental disease 199.5 (2011): 309-312.
  28. ^ Kaurin, P. M. (2007) War Stories: Narrative, Identity and (Recasting) Military Ethics Pedagogy. Pacific Lutheran University. ISME 2007. Retrieved 9-3-2007
  29. ^ Liu, H. C. K., The war that could destroy both armies, Asia Times, 23 October 2003. Retrieved 9-3-2007.
  30. ^ The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children
  31. ^ 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
  32. ^ "Uruguay apologizes over alleged rape by U.N. peacekeepers". Reuters. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  33. ^ "Uruguay to apologize over alleged rape by UN peacekeepers". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  34. ^ Katz, Jonathan M. (2010-10-27). "Nation & World | UN probes base as source of Haiti cholera outbreak | Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved 2013-07-28. 
  35. ^ In Haiti, Global Failures on a Cholera Epidemic; In-depth New York Times piece investigating UN role in introducing cholera New York Times, 31 March 2012, accessed 30 July 2012
  36. ^ UN likely to blame for Haiti Cholera Outbreak Al Jazeera, 7 March 2012, accessed 30 July 2012
  37. ^ Scientists: UN Soldiers Brought Deadly Superbug to Americas ABC News, 12 January 2012, accessed 30 July 2012
  38. ^ Haiti Cholera: One Year Later, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 25 October 2011, accessed 30 July 2012
  39. ^ Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population Cholera Report of July 22, 2012, 22 July 2011, accessed 30 July 2012
  40. ^ a b Final Report of the Independent Panel of Experts on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti, pages 21-22, July 2011, accessed 30 July 2012
  41. ^ Haiti Cholera Victims Demand Demand UN Compensation, BBC 9 November 2011, accessed 30 July 2012
  42. ^ UN 'should take blame for Haiti cholera' - US House members, BBC 20 July 2012, accessed 30 July 2012
  43. ^ "Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti: Cholera Litigation". 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2013-07-28. 
  44. ^ DPKO Capstone Doctrine

Further reading

  • Bureš, Oldřich (June 2006). "Regional Peacekeeping Operations: Complementing or Undermining the United Nations Security Council?".  
  • * Evelegh, Robin (1978). Peace-Keeping in a Democratic Society: the Lessons of Northern Ireland. Montréal, Qué.: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-0502-4
  • Fortna, Virginia Page (2004). "Does Peacekeeping Keep Peace? International Intervention and the Duration of Peace After Civil War".  
  • Pushkina, Darya (June 2006). "A Recipe for Success? Ingredients of a Successful Peacekeeping Mission".  
  • Worboys, Katherine (2007). "The Traumatic Journey from Dictatorship to Democracy: Peacekeeping Operations and Civil-Military Relations in Argentina, 1989-1999". Armed Forces & Society 33 (2): 149–168.  
  • Dandeker, Christopher; Gow, James (1997). "The Future of Peace Support Operations: Strategic Peacekeeping and Success".  
  • Blocq, Daniel. 2009. "Western Soldiers and the Protection of Local Civilians in UN Peacekeeping Operations: Is a Nationalist Orientation in the Armed Forces Hindering Our Preparedness to Fight?" Armed Forces & Society, abstract
  • Bridges, Donna and Debbie Horsfall. 2009. "Increasing Operational Effectiveness in UN Peacekeeping: Toward a Gender-Balanced Force." Armed Forces & Society, May 2009. abstract
  • Howard, Lise Morjé. 2008. UN Peacekeeping in Civil Wars. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. abstract
  • Fortna, Virginia Page; Lise Morjé, Howard (2008). "Pitfalls and Prospects in the Peacekeeping Future". Annual Review of Political Science 11: 283–301.  
  • Reed, Brian; Segal, David (2000). "The Impact of Multiple Deployments on Soldiers' Peacekeeping Attitudes, Morale and Retention".  
  • Sion, Liora (2006). Too Sweet and Innocent for War'?: Dutch Peacekeepers and the Use of Violence"'".  
  • Blocq, Daniel. 2010. "Western Soldiers and the Protection of Local Civilians in UN Peacekeeping Operations: Is a Nationalist Orientation in the Armed Forces Hindering Our Preparedness to Fight?" Armed Forces & Society Vol. 36 (2): 290-309, doi:10.1177/0095327X08330816 Abstract
  • Western Sahara, Publikon Publishers, Pécs, 2009
  • The first military operation between European Union and African Union. The European advisors role in Darfur
  • CIMIC activities in the African Union Mission in Sudan
  • Hungarian Peacekeepers in Africa and a Hungarian Perspective on the UN Mission in Mozambique
  • Peacekeeping mission in Maghreb: The MINURSO
  • Hungarian military forces in Africa – past and future. Recovering lost knowledge, exploiting cultural anthropology resources, creating a comprehensive system of training and preparation
  • UN peacekeeping in Namibia
  • Hungary's contribution to African peacekeeping operations: Lessons Learned
  • The European Union mission in Mali - Hungary's involvement in the mission
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