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UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING : UNDERSTANDING THE BLUE HELMETS MISSION.

United Nations military personnel are the Blue Helmets on the ground. Today, they consist of over 90,000 military personnel contributed by national armies from across the globe.

Military personnel are the backbone and the most visible component of a peacekeeping operation.

Blue Helmets are protecting populations against threats and contributing to a secure environment.

 

Global contribution for global peace :

All military personnel working under the Blue Helmet are first and foremost members of their own national armies and are then seconded to work under the command and control of the UN.

What UN military personnel do :

The UN has been deploying military personnel for service in peace operations since 1948 when the Security Council authorized the deployment of UN military observers to the Middle East to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

UN military personnel can be called upon to:

  • Protect civilians and UN personnel;
  • Monitor a disputed border;
  • Monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas
  • Provide security across a conflict zone;
  • Assist in-country military personnel with training and support
  • Assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements; they may have signed.

 

One of the biggest changes UN Peacekeeping has seen over the 70 years of its existence has been the increasingly multi-dimensional nature of UN peacekeeping operations. UN military peacekeepers are often deployed in inhospitable, remote and dangerous environments where they face an unprecedented scale of challenges especially when protecting civilians, under asymmetric threats.

The UN can only deploy military personnel when there is a UN Security Council resolution authorizing them to do so. The Security Council will say how many military personnel are required, and then UN Headquarters will liaise with the Member States to identify personnel and deploy them. This can take time – perhaps more than six months from the date of the resolution.

 

Supporting political process and helping stabilize Mali

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established by Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to support political processes in that country and carry out a number of security-related tasks.  The Mission was asked to support the transitional authorities of Mali in the stabilization of the country and implementation of the transitional roadmap.

By unanimously adopting resolution 2164 of 25 June 2014, the Council further decided that the Mission should focus on duties, such as ensuring security, stabilization and protection of civilians; supporting national political dialogue and reconciliation; and assisting the reestablishment of State authority, the rebuilding of the security sector, and the promotion and protection of human rights in that country.