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.
Why in News?
- U.N. Undersecretary General Jean-Pierre Lacroix said that the number of fatalities among United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in direct attacks is growing.
- U.N. Peacekeeping fatalities due to malicious acts (not illness or accidents) that were once on the decline, are rising — from 13 in 2020 to 25 in 2021 and this year as many as 26 U.N. peacekeepers till August.