Statement by Ambassador Asoke K Mukerji, Permanent...
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Statement by Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Peacekeeping Operations: New Trends held on 11 June 2014



Mr. President,

1. We take it as a sign of awareness that all is not well in the world of United Nations peacekeeping when the Russian Federation, one of the Security Council s Permanent Members, and its current President decides, in our view with good reason, to hold this open debate on new trends in UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs).  This debate could not have come at a more opportune time due to several reasons, which we will enumerate today, especially when many of the 106 UN peacekeepers who died in 2013, including from India, did so in the uncertainties faced by UN peacekeeping today, including while using force to protect civilians.  

2. At the very outset, we express the hope that other Permanent Members of the Security Council will continue to organize such open debates on UN peacekeeping during their Presidencies of the Council, so that Member States who contribute troops to UNPKOs like us can see a glimmer of hope for the eventual implementation of Article 44 of the UN Charter. As you are aware, Article 44 clearly calls on the Security Council to invite Member States not represented in the Council to participate in the decisions of the Security Council concerning the employment of contingents of that Member s armed forces  , but this hardly ever happens in actual practice.  The Council s views and expectations of TCC, expressed in this debate today, would call for holding meetings in this Chamber with TCC, under Article 44.

3. We thank the Russian Federation for their Concept Note circulated to assist our debate today.  We will focus today on a few relevant issues in the Note. Our comments are provided on the basis of our experience as a major UN troop contributing country, having sent more than 170,000 Indian troops to 43 of the 68 UNPKOs mandated so far.

4. First, the Concept Note points to the impact on UNPKOs of the growth of conflicts that are armed conflicts of non-international character, also referred to as internal or intra-State conflicts. In our view, this is an important issue. By mandating UNPKOs to deal with such internal conflicts, the Council is effectively impacting on the principles of the UN Charter, on which the principles of UNPKOs are firmly rooted. These principles are the consent of the parties to the operations, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defence.

5. Our apprehensions are exacerbated by the emerging proclivity of the Council to mix the traditional original mandate given to the UNPKOs subsequently with a new interventionist mandate for a small portion of the troops in the same peacekeeping operation. We have already experienced this with regard to the MONUSCO operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo mandate given by with UNSCR 2098 of March 2013.  The Council is well aware that India currently contributes more than 4000 troops to MONUSCO.

6. In our view, such a mixing of mandates directly affects the operational effectiveness of the peacekeeping operation, exposing traditional peacekeepers to unnecessary threats from armed internal conflicts which the United Nations has not itself instigated. Further, by being asked to be party to the internal armed conflict, all UN peacekeepers, and not only the interventionist peace enforcers  , become liable to be treated as enemy combatants   under international law, and thus effectively forgo both their impartiality and their immunity from prosecution. Most significantly, by resorting to the use of UN peacekeepers to tackle what are essentially internal political conflicts, we feel that the Council is effectively endorsing a short-sighted and unsustainable approach to the maintenance of international peace and security. This approach will lead to unprovoked and unnecessary casualties of UN peacekeepers, and ultimately erode the credibility and effectiveness of the Council itself.

7. The second important point highlighted by the Concept Note is the presence of elevated risks to UNPKOs from non-governmental armed groups. We completely agree with this point. We have earlier this year substantiated with facts and figures in the C34 Special Committee on Peacekeeping our views on this threat as faced by us the UNPKOs of MONUSCO, UNMISS and UNDOF, where our troops are deployed.  It is a matter of concern that the Security Council has failed to take any effective action to address these risks.

8. Thirdly, the Concept Note points to the increasing trend of UNPKOs having to operate alongside other foreign military forces in the same theatre, but on separate mandates which may differ from those approved by the Security Council. We assume that this point relates to the so-called hybrid UNPKOs, which have emerged out of an attempt to synergize   the provisions of Chapter VIII and Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

9. In this context, we would note that before acting under the provisions of Article 53.1 of the Charter to mandate UNPKOs, the Security Council is required by the Charter to satisfy itself that all attempts at the pacific settlement of disputes set out in Article 52 have been exhausted by the Member States belonging to regional arrangements or regional agencies.

10.     A fourth point made in the Concept Note relates to the resource implications for the new mandates of UNPKOs and the emergence of multidimensional   mandates. This is a very important issue. On the one hand, the new mandates of UNPKOs are ambitiously drafted, running into many pages, as good governance templates. On the other hand, the very same pen-holders drafting these new mandates cavil at having to pay more money for peacekeepers tasked to implement these mandates. The irony is that some in the Council appear to expect to continue to pay at 1992 prices for services of peacekeepers, who are required to serve in more complex multi-layered mandates in the year 2014. This is tantamount to turning economic reality, not to mention morality, on its head!

11. The Concept Note ends with the tantalizing suggestion that there could be an Outcome Document from this open debate. We strongly support this idea, so that the valuable contributions made by all Member States in the Council today will be known, and acted upon. My delegation is ready to contribute in any manner you deem fit to the creation of such a document.

12. With this objective in mind, we offer the following specific proposals for the consideration of the Council in such an Outcome Document:

(i) We call on the Council to reconsider the use of interventionist mandates for UNPKOs until all Member States contributing troops have been given an opportunity under Article 44 of the Charter to participate in the Council s decisions on such operations.

(ii) We call on the Council to ensure a mandatory inclusion in all UNPKO mandates of legally binding provisions for prosecuting, penalizing and neutralizing any non-governmental armed groups and armed militias causing, or threatening to cause, harm to UNPKOs.

(iii) We call on the Council to conduct a transparent and rigorous assessment in an open debate of whether or not the provisions of the UN Charter favouring the pacific settlement of disputes have been fully and sincerely complied with by the regional arrangements or regional agencies, before the Council acts under Article 53.1 to mandate UNPKOs using its power given by Article 42 of the Charter. In our view this must be an essential pre-requisite for the deployment of UN peacekeepers in hybrid   UNPKOs.

(iv) We call on the Council to take the initiative to unanimously agree to increase the reimbursements to UN peacekeepers, on the basis of the rates proposed in the Survey commissioned under the mandate of the UN General Assembly. This will send a strong signal from the Council to the international community that it is fully prepared to pay for the new mandates of UNPKOs approved by it.

(v) We call on the Council to engage with troop contributing countries under Article 44 while drafting new multidimensional mandates of the UNPKOs. We believe we can play a role in assisting the Council, under the provisions of Article 44 of the Charter to determine the kind and number of troops required for the proposed mandate, the nature of equipment required, and the costs of operating in the specific terrain of the theatre of operations.

(vi) We call on the Council to consider the role other UN entities, such as the Peacebuilding Commission, the UNDP, UN Women, WHO, FAO etc., can play in implementing civilian components of the multi-dimensional mandates being approved for UNPKOs.  On this basis, different components of these mandates should be clearly earmarked to the appropriate entity.

Thank you.

Russian Concept Paper on the Open Debate



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