About UN Peacekeeping Forces
- The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces are employed by the UN to maintain or re-establish peace in an area of armed conflict.
- The UN may engage in conflicts between states as well as in struggles within states. The UN acts as an impartial third party in order to prepare the ground for a settlement of the issues that have provoked armed conflict.
- The UN Peacekeeping Forces may only be employed when both parties to a conflict accept their presence.
- The Peacekeeping Forces are subordinate to the leadership of the United Nations. They are normally deployed as a consequence of a UN Security Council decision. However, on occasion, the initiative has been taken by the General Assembly. Operational control belongs to the Secretary-General and his secretariat.
- There are two kinds of peacekeeping operations – unarmed observer groups and lightly-armed military forces. The latter are only allowed to employ their weapons for self-defence. The observer groups are concerned with gathering information for the UN about actual conditions prevailing in an area. The military forces are entrusted with more extended tasks, such as keeping the parties to a conflict apart and maintaining order in an area.
- The first UN peacekeeping mission was a team of observers deployed to the Middle East in 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. There are currently 13 UN peacekeeping operations deployed on three continents.
- India today is the largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping operations. More than 200,000 Indian troops have served in 49 of the 71 UN peacekeeping operations deployed so far.
Why in News?
- Major Suman Gawani of the Indian Army, who served as a peacekeeper with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2019, has won the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the year Award.
- As a military observer in UNMISS from November 2018 to December 2019, Major Gawani was the principal focal point of contact for gender issues for military observers in the mission.