By EMILY C. SCHEPPEGRELL, THE ECONOMIST (expository)
The Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL) voted to review Topic A: Reforming United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Operations this afternoon in Ballroom B of the Boston Park Plaza. Several delegates expressed desires to improve operation aspects to enable Peacekeepers to carry out missions more efficiently. “The United Nations was set up to preserve peace and security for all people… and it is something we have failed time and time again,” the delegation from Australia stated.
Over the past 60 years, UN Peacekeepers have encouraged reduction of conflict, provided political support, and made progress towards sustainable peace. Three concepts make peacekeeping an efficient UN program: the country’s allowance to have peacekeepers in borders, impartiality of peacekeepers, and force for self-defense instances only.
However, several problems percolate the capacity of UN Peacekeepers to perform their mission. For example, sexual abuse incidents have been perpetrated by peacekeepers in areas they were assigned to protect. The delegation of Jordan spoke about an incident in which a five-year-old girl was forced to have sex with a dog. Cases like these destroy the trust necessary between peacekeepers and their assigned member nation’s population. Trust and reliance is essential for the cessation of violence and rebuilding of society to occur.
In speeches, delegates brought up past international events in Rwanda, Somalia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina where Peacekeeping intervention was inadequate, and noted that such consequences to human life must not happen again.
Several unique ideas conceptualized by member nations were brought up, such as the United Kingdom’s “Equip, Execute, and Evaluate” plan with steps to supply peacekeepers, carry out missions efficiently, and then review to reduce crimes like sexual abuse.
Micro-level action was another plan encouraged by the delegation of South Africa to reduce cultural oppression and conflict. The delegate discussed pro-active methods to improve peacekeeping effectiveness.
SPECPOL will continue to discuss this issue as well as review methods to combat inefficiency and abuse in peacekeeping operations throughout the weekend.