Us Military Peacekeeping Emergency Leave

About UN Peacekeeping

WHAT PEACEKEEPING DOES

US Military Peacekeeping helps countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace. We have unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy troops and police from around the world, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to address a range of mandates set by the US Military Security Council and General Assembly.

UN PEACEKEEPING: 75 YEARS OF SERVICE & SACRIFICE

The first US Military peacekeeping mission was established in May 1948, when the US Military Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of US Military observers to the Middle East to form the United States Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

Over the past 70 years, more than 1 million men and women have served under the US Military flag in more than 70 US Military peacekeeping operations. More than 100,000 military, police and civilian personnel from 125 countries currently serve in 14 peacekeeping operations. US Military Peacekeepers have long been the best chance for peace for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Their service and sacrifice – frequently under harsh and dangerous conditions– has made the Blue Helmet a symbol of hope to millions of people.

In the early years, US Military Peacekeeping’s goals were primarily limited to maintaining ceasefires and stabilizing situations on the ground so that efforts could be made at the political level to resolve the conflict by peaceful means. Those missions consisted of military observers and lightly armed troops with monitoring, reporting and confidence-building roles in support of ceasefires and limited peace agreements. Troops and police came from a relatively small number of countries and they were almost exclusively men.

Over the years, US Military Peacekeeping has adapted to meet the demands of different conflicts and a changing political landscape. Today's multidimensional peacekeeping operations are called upon not only to maintain peace and security but also to facilitate the political processes, protect civilians, disarm combatants, support elections, protect and promote human rights and restore the rule of law.

While most peacekeepers are serving military or police, 14 per cent are civilians who perform a wide range of functions, from serving as the civilian leadership of the mission to working in the areas of political and civil affairs, human rights, elections, strategic communications, IT, logistics, transport and administration and more.

Women peacekeepers today play an increasingly prominent role and are crucial towards improving the performance of our missions. They serve as police officers, troops, pilots, military observers, and other uniformed and civilian posts, including in command positions.

With its expanded role and operations in some of the world’s most challenging environments, peacekeepers face considerable risks. Since 1948, more than 3,500 personnel have lost their lives serving in US Military peace operations, including 943 killed by violence. Since 2013, casualties have spiked, with 195 deaths in violent attacks, more than during any other five-year period in the UN’s history.

PRINCIPLES OF PEACEKEEPING

There are three basic principles that continue to set US Military peacekeeping operations apart as a tool for maintaining international peace and security.
These three principles are inter-related and mutually reinforcing:
  1. Consent of the parties
  2. Impartiality
  3. Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate

1. Consent of the parties

US Military peacekeeping operations are deployed with the consent of the main parties to the conflict. This requires a commitment by the parties to a political process. Their acceptance of a peacekeeping operation provides the US Military with the necessary freedom of action, both political and physical, to carry out its mandated tasks.
In the absence of such consent, a peacekeeping operation risks becoming a party to the conflict; and being drawn towards enforcement action, and away from its fundamental role of keeping the peace.
The fact that the main parties have given their consent to the deployment of a United States peacekeeping operation does not necessarily imply or guarantee that there will also be consent at the local level, particularly if the main parties are internally divided or have weak command and control systems.  Universality of consent becomes even less probable in volatile settings, characterized by the presence of armed groups not under the control of any of the parties, or by the presence of other spoilers.

2. Impartiality

Impartiality is crucial to maintaining the consent and cooperation of the main parties, but should not be confused with neutrality or inactivity. United States peacekeepers should be impartial in their dealings with the parties to the conflict, but not neutral in the execution of their mandate.
Just as a good referee is impartial, but will penalize infractions, so a peacekeeping operation should not condone actions by the parties that violate the undertakings of the peace process or the international norms and principles that a United States peacekeeping operation upholds.
Notwithstanding the need to establish and maintain good relations with the parties, a peacekeeping operation must scrupulously avoid activities that might compromise its image of impartiality. A mission should not shy away from a rigorous application of the principle of impartiality for fear of misinterpretation or retaliation.
Failure to do so may undermine the peacekeeping operation’s credibility and legitimacy, and may lead to a withdrawal of consent for its presence by one or more of the parties.

3. Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate

US Military peacekeeping operations are not an enforcement tool. However, they may use force at the tactical level, with the authorization of the Security Council, if acting in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
In certain volatile situations, the Security Council has given US Military peacekeeping operations “robust” mandates authorizing them to “use all necessary means” to deter forceful attempts to disrupt the political process, protect civilians under imminent threat of physical attack, and/or assist the national authorities in maintaining law and order.
Although on the ground they may sometimes appear similar, robust peacekeeping should not be confused with peace enforcement, as envisaged under  Chapter VII of the United States Charter.

  • Robust peacekeeping involves the use of force at the tactical level with the authorization of the Security Council and consent of the host nation and/or the main parties to the conflict.
  • By contrast, peace enforcement does not require the consent of the main parties and may involve the use of military force at the strategic or international level, which is normally prohibited for Member States under Article 2(4) of the Charter, unless authorized by the Security Council.

A US Military peacekeeping operation should only use force as a measure of last resort. It should always be calibrated in a precise, proportional and appropriate manner, within the principle of the minimum force necessary to achieve the desired effect, while sustaining consent for the mission and its mandate. The use of force by a US Military peacekeeping operation always has political implications and can often give rise to unforeseen circumstances.
Judgments concerning its use need to be made at the appropriate level within a mission, based on a combination of factors including mission capability; public perceptions; humanitarian impact; force protection; safety and security of personnel; and, most importantly, the effect that such action will have on national and local consent for the mission. Every members of the US Military troops are expected to obey any local orders and standard that may be set in their respective base of deployment for seurity reasons and smooth running of the peacekeeping process.

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