By Arul Louis
United Nations, Sep 10 (IANS) India has suggested co-deployment of peacekeepers from different countries as a way to overcome the caveats placed by some nations how their troops and equipment can be deployed in UN operations that hobble the missions.
India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said that “innovative options such as co-deployment of peacekeepers from different countries engender a genuine spirit of partnership for peace and need to be promoted”.
Innovations like that are essential “if we are to move away from a culture of caveats that bedevils peacekeeping into a segmented activity”, he said.
Although troops from different countries serve on the same missions, they are mostly kept in separate units and often limited by the caveats placed by their countries on how they can be used.
As a result sometimes some peace-keepers are denied the use of equipment available with those from another country or available personnel are not allowed to be deployed on assignments despite the urgency of the situation or risks to other peacekeepers.
Describing the problems with the UN’s missions, Akbarudding said: “Peacekeeping is in a ‘no-man’s land,’ between trying to keep the peace in fragile environments and trying to enforce the maintenance of peace, where there is none to keep.”
He criticised the lack of consultations between the troop-contributing countries and the Security Council, which issues the mandates for the peace-keepers.
Although the need for such consultations have been reflected in Council presidential statements from as far back as 1994 and reiterated since in other documents and reports, “in practice, we do not see effective improvement of the cooperation” between the Council and countries providing personnel.
“It is time to move from pursuit of individual activism to collective action, in this regard,” he said.
Although the UN’s leadership and several member countries have talked about the importance of deploying more women peace-keepers, especially to provide vulnerable women and children better protection, there has been little progress.
Akbaruddin raised the issue pointing out that of the 86,687 peacekeepers in July only 5,243 – a meagre 6 per cent – were women, an increase of only 5 per cent since 1993 when they constituted only 1 per cent.
He said: “At this rate, it may not be possible to meet even minimum targets. There need to be special incentives for women peacekeepers and priority deployment of all women-unit pledges.”
According to UN statistics, there were only 81 women among the 6,178 Indian peackeeping personnel in July.
In 2017, the UN set a target of having women as 20 per cent of police by 2020.
The Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy unveiled earlier this year sets a target of 15 per cent to 35 per cent for women’s representation by 2028 covering troops, police, correction and justice personnel.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)