Pakistan demands security of UN peacekeepers

Staff Report
Saturday - February 10, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan called for steps to ensure the safety and security of united nations (UN) peacekeepers, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi demanded on Friday, safety and security of our peacekeepers must be a collective responsibility that requires a shared approach, from understanding the ground situation to improving mandates to resourcing, planning and execution of the mandates.

According to an official statement, she made these remarks at the UN when opening a meeting as the co-chair of the group of troop and police contributing countries. Pakistan and Morocco set up the group of troop and police contributing countries (TCCs) last year to facilitate an open and frank exchange of views on issues of concern to the countries contributing troops to UN peacekeeping.

Recalling the first casualty of 2018 of a Pakistani peacekeeper in the UN mission in the democratic republic of Congo, Lodhi said, “Sadly, everyone in this room has been confronted with such grim news much too often” adding “All troop countries fully understand the enormity and gravity of the challenge at hand. We know that these threats neither weaken the resolve of TCCs to serve the cause of international peace and security, nor do they diminish the efficacy of peacekeeping itself.”

She noted that over the years peacekeeping has evolved into a much more complex enterprise than initially envisaged. Peacekeepers, Lodhi said, were increasingly deployed in perilous operating environments, in uncharted territory, even in situations where there is no peace to keep.

Raising alarm at the increase in the frequency of attacks and deliberate targeting of UN peacekeepers, she said, “Blue helmets are frequently attacked and deliberately targeted, a phenomenon that was unheard of just a few years ago.”

“If the UN cannot protect itself, how will it be able to protect others?”, Lodhi asked and emphasised the need for consultations to bring together planners and implementers of mandates for a better understanding of the risks on the ground.

“Involving TCCs at an early stage will not only clarify things but also create better situational awareness for our troops when they are actually deployed,” she added.

Calling for adequate allocation of resources, Lodhi said that at the time of deployment, resources must be allocated on the basis of a realistic assessment of gaps to effectively implement mandates.

“The mantra of doing more for less should not be at the cost of safety and security,” she added.

The briefing by under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations was attended by major troop contributing countries at the ambassador level and was followed by a rich interactive discussion.

Ambassadors of Bangladesh, Italy, Ethiopia, Uruguay, Senegal and Indonesia and representatives of China, Guyana and Burkina Faso were among those participating in the interactive discussion.

They appreciated Pakistan and Morocco’s initiative as timely and important. The discussion focused on several key aspects of safety and security, equipment, funding gaps, deployment preparation and training. Emphasis was also placed on the need for consultations between the security council, the UN secretariat and TCCs.