India has once again flagged its concern over the killers of United Nations (U.N.) Peacekeepers going unpunished and called on the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) to take visible steps to bring to justice such attackers within a determined time frame.
India lost five peacekeepers in a South Sudan ambush this year and three in Congo in 2010. The UNSC had asked for apprehending those responsible for killing U.N. peacekeepers, but not much has happened so far, either in the Democratic Republic of Congo or in South Sudan.
Moreover, traditional U.N. peacekeepers were increasingly being targeted by militias because of the new practice of mixing them with troops who conduct assault operations, regretted India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., Asoke Kumar Mukerji, while speaking at the U.N. General Assembly on UNSC’s annual report on Thursday.
“The implication of having intervention and traditional peacekeeping units under one command, with no differentiation in physical appearance, is that it would invite attacks on peacekeepers,” he cautioned.
The Indian diplomat dwelt on this theme because most of the UNSC’s effort was centred on countries where peacekeepers are deployed in strength and India, along with Pakistan and Bangladesh, are leading troop-contributing countries for U.N. peacekeeping operations.
In addition, India has a heavy presence in MONUSCO (U.N. Mission in Congo) where the UNSC has authorised the additional induction of an intervention brigade — about 3,000 soldiers — to carry out “robust activities to take on armed groups.”
“It is important to remember that impartiality and neutrality are key principles for ensuring acceptability of U.N. peacekeepers and also for their safety and security… As a major troop-contributing country and one with a substantial presence in MONUSCO, I would like to underscore the need for an objective assessment of the implications of such robust mandates on the impartial nature of U.N. peacekeeping.”
Till this issue was worked out, the UNSC should focus on deterring threats to peacekeepers from non-government forces or militias, he suggested.
Keywords: UN peacekeepers' killing