UN condemns attacks by peacekeepers, urges prosecution and security
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Security Council condemned the killings and attacks on UN peacekeepers in the strongest terms on Monday and called for swift prosecutions of those responsible.
The council stressed the critical importance of safety and security for the more than 90,000 UN peacekeepers serving in 12 missions from Congo, South Sudan and Mali to the Middle East and India and the Pakistan.
He said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and countries that contribute troops and police to peacekeeping operations should work together to ensure that peacekeepers are adequately resourced and equipped and trained to mitigate. threats, including landmines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices.
The Chinese-drafted presidential statement was endorsed by the 15-member council at a public meeting where UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said peacekeeping missions of peace operate “in complex environments where they face an increasing number of attacks against their personnel by hostile actors”.
Since January 1, Lacroix said, 15 peacekeepers have lost their lives “due to malicious acts”.
“In addition to hostile environments and direct attacks, issues related to peacekeeper safety, such as vehicle accidents and illness, also cause fatalities and can significantly affect peacekeepers’ ability to s fulfill the tasks assigned to them,” said Lacroix.
“In 2020, for example, 13 peacekeepers lost their lives in acts of violence, compared to 15 due to accidents and 81 due to illness,” he said. “This has, of course, been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Lacroix said technology has improved the readiness and capabilities of peacekeepers, including early warning systems and drones.
The UN has also made progress in supporting countries hosting peacekeepers in their efforts to bring perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers to justice. he said. As an example, six people were convicted in the Central African Republic in early 2020 and in March 2021 one person was found guilty and eight others were found guilty and sentenced in absentia, he said.
But Lacroix said, “Despite the progress made, many factors continue to impede the safety and security of our peacekeepers in the field.”
He called for the deployment of uniformed peacekeepers “without caveats” about their activities that compromise the safety and security of other peacekeepers “and the performance of our operations”.
He urged countries to deploy commanders “with significant operational experience”, trained military intelligence personnel and more female peacekeepers.
Lacroix also said that countries should provide adequate equipment, in particular armed and utility helicopters, medically equipped aircraft and advanced medical teams, rapid reaction units and mine protected vehicles “as well as aerial capabilities for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance”.