Unit 5
Reading Passage
Who are the UN Peacekeepers ?

Who are the UN Peacekeepers and what is their mission?  UN peacekeepers are troops and other  personnel contributed by different Member-States for the purpose of keeping peace in a conflict situation -- until the disputing parties can negotiate a settlement. The idea of peacekeeping is that a United Nations presence can create sufficient calm, order and legitimacy to allow negotiations to continue. As long as people are talking, they are not fighting.  As long as peace prevails, local people can carry on their daily lives and local social institutions (schools, hospitals, workplaces, etc.) can carry out their functions. UN peacekeepers play many roles in their efforts to bring about peace in a region;  they work as de-miners, electoral experts and observers,  human rights monitors, experts in governance and communication. They work to ensure that the will of the international community, as expressed in Security Council resolutions, is carried out.

In order for peacekeepers to carry out their work, certain pre-conditions are necessary. First, it is necessary for the disputing parties to consent to the presence of the peacekeepers; second, it is necessary for the disputing parties to respect cease-fire agreements; third, it is necessary for disputing parties to respect humanitarian norms.  

While in past decades, most conflicts broke out between different nations, in recent decades, many conflicts have broken out among multiple factions within individual nations.   This new pattern of conflict has created special challenges for peacekeepers in carrying out their missions  - as not all factions involved may accept the pre-conditions to peacekeeping. When these pre-conditions are met, UN peacekeepers can help create conditions that allow democratic  elections,  help establish stable governments and aid development as seen in such missions as Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and  Timor Leste.  

The Security Council has the authority to deploy a peacekeeping mission if 9 out of 15 Council members vote in favour of it and if no permanent member vetoes it. The cost of a peacekeeping mission is shared by member-states with each contributing according to its economic capacity.  At the Secretary-General's request, Member-States sometimes contribute personnel and other supplies to missions. 

Successful peacekeeping missions require adequate supplies and resources,  a clear mandate, and the firm support of the international community. 

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