Main points to remember:
- Essay Introduction
- Peaceful settlement of disputes
- International community’s mandate
- Peace keeping — its variety
- Functions of the peace-keepers
- How is it proposed and constituted?
- To date peace-keeping operations
- Whether international force is feasible?
The term ”peace-keeping’ in the abroad sense means various steps taken by the United Nations to prevent the dispute from arising, or to stabilize the situation where trouble has already risen: In order to maintain peace various methods are adopted like mediation, good offices, employment of neutral forces etc. The United Nations peace-keeping forces are impartial and play their role neutrally. The peace-keeping forces do not use force.
Peaceful settlement of disputes:
The international norm for peaceful settlement of a dispute is set forth in Article 2, paragraph 3 of the United Nations charter which states—”All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that peace and security, and justice are not endangered.” Most of the common procedures for peaceful settlement of international disputes are catalogued in Article 33, paragraph 1 of the Charter. By virtue of provisions contained in the Charter, the Security Council has been authorized to determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of peace or act of aggression and can make recommendations or decide what measures should be taken to maintain or restore peace and security. The responsibility for the implementation of the Security Council’s decisions can be entrusted by it to all the members of the UN or some of them. Members are expected to afford mutual assistance in carrying out the measures decided by the Security Council.
International community’s mandate:
United Nations peace-keeping can be sent as unarmed observers or as a lightly-armed peace-keeping force. They might be asked to observe a situation and report to the Secretary General, to supervise troops withdrawals or help ensure compliance with treaties or other agreements. Or they might be asked to enquire into cease-fire violations or to patrol buffer zones. Or they may be required to help supervise elections, monitor maintenance of law and order situations or to ensure peaceful transition of a territory to independence. That apart, the UN peace-keeping often provide much needed medical help, assist in re-settlement of refugees and work to restore normal civil activities in strife-torn areas. Last but not the least, their physical presence serves to remind the warring parties that the whole world is watching what they are doing.
Peace keeping — its variety:
When a member or a group of members of the UN, or the Secretary General of the UN proposes the establishment of a peace-keeping operation, some basic conditions have to be met. First, there must be consent of the country or countries involved. Second, the proposal must enjoy broad support of the international community—specially it must attract sufficient and necessary votes for adoption by the Security Council. In order to adopt a proposal for a peace-keeping operation, there should not be any negative vote from any of the permanent members of the Security Council. Third, the member states must be ready to volunteer personnel for this purpose.
Functions of the peace-keepers:
Peace-keeping operation is an impartial role. Success of peace-keeping operation depends not only on the concerned parties consent, but also on their full co-operation, specially regarding freedom of movement of the UN personnel within their territories as-well-as the facilities necessary to carry out the mandate.
How is it proposed and constituted?
The Security Council first of all looks for a peaceful settlement of the dispute. If that does not meet with success, it can call for action by the international community which might include asking member states to make armed forces available to enforce its wishes.
To date peace-keeping operations:
The peace-keeping troops use force only in exceptional circumstances. They carry light arms and may use them only if they are attacked or if they are stopped by force and prevented from carrying out their mandate. The effectiveness of peace-keeping forces depends on the combination of a number of factors. To date, there have been 20 peace-keeping operations of which 10 were peacekeeping forces and the other ten were military observers’ missions. The distinction between the two is not, however, absolute. The latest peace-keeping operations to be established were the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission to monitor a demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait after the Gulf War of 1991. The peace-keeping force in Yugoslavia to keep peace in the civil war-torn country since February 1992 and the UN peace-force in Cambodia since April 1992.
In the world of today threatened by the possibility of a nuclear hold the UN peace-keeping operations can limit and localized the scope of international conflicts. These operations try to keep the armed conflict at a low level/ while efforts to sewer a political settlement of the problem are on. They also help to prevent the intervention by the rival super powers. It can be safely concluded that although the efforts of the UN peace-keeping forces have not in each and every case yielded desired results, yet they have done creditable job. The peace-keeping force of the United Nations is quite .different from a force organized under the UN for enforcing world law or agreed international decisions anywhere in the world. The peace-keeping force is composed of national contingents placed at the disposal of the UN and acting on the basis of international community consensus.
Whether international force is feasible?
But there are certain limitations in evolving or organizing an international force. First, Organizing an international force involves huge personnel and material as-well-as financial resources. There have been cases in which certain member states have refused to pay their contributions for the peace-keeping operations on various pleas. Although contribution of finance may be obligatory, but the contribution of personnel and material is another problem. Then the formation of the international force should have broader representation and universal look. An international force can operate effectively only if the world achieved the goal of total disarmament, which appears a distant possibility. Connected with this issue is the dogma as to whether disarmament should precede formation of international force or the other way round. There are thinkers who believe that the disarmament process can proceed only if the international forces (UN Force) will sufficient armed forces and armaments are established so that no state is able to challenge it. Yet other point for consideration is that if any international force based on the monopoly of the military power is constituted, it will do the good to world force and security. Therefore, this idea for the present appears to Utopian.