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United Nations Peacekeeping

July 27, 2011

by Travis Mockler, Intern

The first United Nations peacekeeping operation occurred in 1948, following the first Arab-Israeli War. Soldiers participating in the operation came from several different UN member-states and were tasked with supervising the fragile peace that had been established between the belligerent parties. UN peacekeeping activities followed this model for quite some time; the operations featured soldiers from all over the world whose primary responsibility was maintaining the peace resulting from established treaties.

However, the tragic events in the 1990s of Srebernica and Rwanda, during which UN peacekeeping forces watched helplessly as many were murdered, forced the UN and its member states to rethink the role of UN-mandated peacekeeping forces. Today, UN peacekeeping forces, such as those stationed in Afghanistan and Darfur, have expanded mandates and focus on diverse issues like rule of law, human rights and gender equality. For example, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325 in 2000, which required parties in international conflicts to respect women’s rights and support their involvement in post-conflict reconciliation processes.

Peacekeeping forces today take a much more active role in securing international peace by working to create the political and social conditions that lead to sustainable peace. There are currently around 111,000 military and civilian personnel deployed across 16 countries in ongoing UN peacekeeping operations.

See the website of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations at http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/ to learn more about how the UN supports international peace.

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