Can UN continue in its role as international peacekeeper?

By on October 23, 2011

The recognition of an international responsibility to protect civilians in times of crisis and the brutal reality of modern day conflict and has made peacekeeping more crucial and more important than it was before.

The United Nations was born, fifty five years ago, out of the pain and huge loss caused by the II World War. The motto that is carved in the Charter of the United Nations is “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. It is considered vital till date as it was fifty five years ago. The Charter gives expression to the aspirations of humankind and common values of mankind in accomplishing it.

The UNO has been tested by humanitarian crisis, turbulent change and conflict. However, it has managed to survive and play a vital role in preventing a global conflict such as the Second World War and has achieved much for all the people around the globe. It has helped in shaping the structure of relationships between countries in the current era. Through the elimination of apartheid and the process of decolonization, billions of human beings have been assured to exercise the fundamental right of self-determination. However, the speed and extent of change in today’s world points to a future of great complexity and challenge and has brought in the necessity to increase the level of expectations of the United Nations.

Although the primary mission of United Nations Organization   has been to prevent wars, after its venture, the organization faces a conflicting dual mandate. It is nothing but to act in the interests of people living on the earth, as well as, respecting the sovereignty of individual countries. The United Nations was created with the intention of providing a semblance of sanity after the crucial brutality that was shed on mankind during the Second World War. United Nations has simply succeeded in codifying the conduct of a civilized world.

The United Nations has adopted a relatively “hands-off” approach to peacekeeping in the newly independent states. The United Nations has been willing to mediate negotiations between conflicting parties, as well as provide international observers, but refuses to become involved in armed peacekeeping missions.

Peacekeepers at the present age are continuously mandated to protect civilians who are threatened by violence. However, there is no clear protocol to teach army peacekeepers about making a protection mandate work. Moreover, it is not appropriate for the UN peacekeepers to undertake peace enforcement when one or more parties to the conflict frequently do not consent to the deployment of peacekeepers.

There are certain actions that the U.S. government can take in order to improve the effectiveness of global peacekeeping practices and to assist the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in improving its work towards increasing the effectiveness of peacekeeping forces across the globe. Few of these steps are very simple. One such step is to pay U.S. peacekeeping dues on time and working with the United Nations in providing professional training in peacekeeping. Moreover, the U.S. must also be willing to deploy its forces and enabling assets such as strategic lift capabilities and engineering units, in order to help missions deploy completely and quickly.

The world has started understanding that everyone has a responsibility to protect mankind from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and violence against humanity. Lessons from past experiences will help future goals to operate more effectively and make sure that human beings in great numbers are protected from violence and harm.


  1. Ratner, Steven, The new UN peacekeeping: building peace in lands of conflict after the Cold War, Palgrave Macmillan, 1996.
  2. Sitkowski, Andrzej, UN peacekeeping: myth and reality, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006
  3. Durch, William, The Evolution of UN peacekeeping: case studies and comparative analysis, Palgrave Macmillan, 1993