United Nations (UN) peacekeeping remains relevant, but the UN should do more to end sexual exploitation by some peacekeepers around the world by reducing the period of each tour to four months rather than one year, security analyst Irbard Ibrahim has said.
In a statement to mark International Peacekeeping Day on Monday, 29 May, he said: “Armed conflicts continue to flare up, generated by a variety of causes: inadequate political structures within countries collapse or fail to provide for the orderly transfer of power; dissatisfied populations identify with ever-smaller groups, often based on ethnicity, which may or may not respect national boundaries; competition for scarce resources intensifies as anger and frustration grow among people trapped in poverty.
These elements provide fertile soil for violence within or between states. The violence is fed by massive numbers of virtually all kinds of weapons, readily available worldwide. The results are human suffering –often on a massive scale – threats to wider international peace and security, and the destruction of the economic and social life of entire populations.”
According to him, many conflicts today may seem remote to those not immediately in the line of fire. But the world’s nations must weigh the risks of action against the proven dangers of inaction.
Mr Ibrahim noted that failure by the international community to try to control conflicts and to resolve them peacefully may result in wider conflicts involving more actors. “Recent history has shown how quickly civil wars between parties in one country can destabilise neighbouring countries and spread throughout entire regions. Few modern conflicts can be considered truly ‘local’. They often generate a host of problems – such as illegal traffic in arms, terrorism, drug trafficking, refugee flows, and damage to the environment – whose repercussions are felt far from the immediate conflict zone.”
International cooperation, in his opinion, is needed to deal with these and other global problems.
The security analyst noted: “UN peacekeeping, built on a half-century of experience in the field, is an indispensable tool. Its legitimacy and universality are unique, derived from its character as an action taken on behalf of a global organisation with 185 Member States. UN peacekeeping operations can open doors which might otherwise remain closed to efforts in peace-making and peacebuilding to secure lasting peace.”
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