H.E. Adiyatwidi Adiwoso Asmady
Deputy Permanent Representative of
the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
on Agenda item: 34 “Comprehensive Review of the whole question of
Peacekeeping Operations in all their aspects”
at the General debate of Fourth Committee
New York, 2 November 2007
Let me first congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, and your bureau members on your elections. I am positive that your very able leadership will spur the Committee’s agenda in promotion of equitable global peace and stability. We are grateful to you for convening this debate on the important subject of UN peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
We thank the Under Secretary General, Mr. Jean-Marie Guehenno, for his valuable and comprehensive remarks. We also thank the Assistant Secretary-General and Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Field Support (DFS), Ms Jane Lute, for her briefing.
Indonesia appreciates the efforts of Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon towards making DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) a responsive and field oriented department, in full support of the UN peacekeeping missions. Considering the unprecedented surge in demand for global peacekeeping, and its increased multidimensional nature, it is critical that the DPKO and DFS are effectively geared to meet the peacekeeping challenges of present times.
My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. Allow me, Mr. Chairman, to share with the house some additional comments. I would be submitting them under the five priority areas of 2010 Peace Operations reform agenda, namely; doctrine, personnel, partnerships, resources, and organisation.
First on doctrine, we are convinced that the agreed basic principles of UN peacekeeping; consent of parties, impartiality, non-use of force except in self-defence and in the defence of Security Council mandate, remain essential for the conduct of peacekeeping missions. These principles coupled with realistic, explicitly clear, and responsive mandates of Security Council, are crucial to the success of peacekeeping operations.
The peacekeeping guiding principles have been endorsed by the GA. Any substantive discussion in relation to those principles should be left to the only proper inter-governmental forum for that purpose; the C34.
We believe that the development of Capstone doctrine should be firmly based on these agreed principles of UN peacekeeping. It needs to be understood that the work of Secretariat is to focus on the factors of planning, deployment, operations, and logistics. It must avoid drawing up any documents at cross purposes to the peacekeeping guiding principles, and should be careful in making presuppositions where there are clear disagreements between the members. For instance, the introduction of the concept of ‘Restraint in the use of force’, in place of ‘Non-use of force except in self defence’ is a significant departure from the values of UN peacekeeping. It only leads to unnecessary debate. This attempt on reinterpretation can have serious implications on the rules of engagement for new missions in future.
Similarly, the reinterpretation of the meaning of self defence in peacekeeping should be avoided. The concept of self-defence has been defined exhaustively by the international law, and it is subject to the conditions of necessity and proportionality. There is a specific rule whereby self-defence warrants only those measures that are proportional to the armed attack, and are necessary in responding to it. The parametres of necessity and proportionality of self-defence are capable of assessing the possible situations in which hostile units or persons might be committed to an immediate attack.
Supporting the concept of a ‘preemptive strike’ or ‘anticipatory self-defence’ by assessing the situation through the parameter of ‘imminent threat’ may also be regarded by many member states as a significant departure from the principles of self-defence.
If the underlying issue is that a UN peacekeeping mission faces a situation where the forces of war and violence threaten the peace or continue to prey upon a vulnerable population, then the Security Council should not fail to act by producing a robust new resolution that provides a clear and specific mandate for the peacekeepers. If troops are not deployed according to the agreed concepts and protocols, we risk jeopardizing their safety, discipline and morale. Moreover, these personnel would not be able to properly protect civilians in the field.
While we aim high to deploy more peacekeepers, multitask them, and put more responsibilities on the peacekeeping operations, we also have to realistically accept that there are limits. One of the limits that should be understood clearly is that that the peacekeepers can only use force for self-defence purpose unless agreed otherwise by a very clear mandate of the Security Council. I recall what Sir Brian Urquhart, former UN Under Secretary-General for Special Political Tasks has mentioned, which I believe is still relevant for so-called traditional or the non-traditional type peacekeeping operations: “The real strength of a peacekeeping force lies not in its capacity to use force, but precisely in its not using force and thereby remaining above the conflict and preserving its unique position and prestige”.
Second on Personnel, we must remember that as we speak the brave men and women of peacekeeping serve in the most treacherous of locations, representing the finest in UN traditions. Their courage and personal sacrifice for the cause of peacekeeping deserve the highest accolades. While they play their role, we must play ours. More than 140, 000 UN personnel serving in 18 locations need the best equipped systems, training, and support at the headquarters and field levels.
We are hopeful that with the establishment of DFS there will be improved, comprehensive, and well-coordinated response to the needs of peacekeepers. Regular training by the Secretariat on professional matters, including the effective dissemination of zero tolerance policy on sexual abuse and exploitation is fundamental, and will contribute directly to the success of peacekeeping.
We recognise that there is a growing move towards integrated peacekeeping, and integrated mission planning cells. In this regard, the concept of integrated mission training centres is to be supported. However, we have to be careful in not overburdening the peacekeepers with the complex demands, which now range from assignments in DDR, SSR, conduct of elections, to even public sector financial management. The majority of peacekeepers have military expertise. Short-term training modules on such diverse disciplines do not necessary prepare them for these tasks. Lacking proper skills, the peacekeepers become dangerously exposed also undermining the UN’s local credibility. Hence, there should also be an urgency to balance the demand for multidimensionality with building of partnerships with entities that may be best suited to perform specialist roles. I will touch upon this aspect a little more in a minute.
It is also important that the training is not imparted in a detached manner. There must be frequent mission-specific meetings between the DPKO, DFS, and TCCs (Troop contributing countries). Crucially, the Security Council also needs to enhance its cooperation and coordination with the TCCs. The Council should hold consultations with the TCCs sufficiently in advance so as to meaningfully incorporate their views in its decision making process. It is also important that the Secretariat enhances the transparency in the selection of TCCs, and once the different countries’ troops are in the field they are given an equal treatment.
Appropriate safety and security mechanisms for UN peacekeepers, and the backstopping capacity of the Secretariat in this area remains a concern, which should be adequately addressed. We must send a strong political message in this context.
My delegation fully supports robust steps to prevent any attacks against members of peacekeeping contingents, the establishment of such attacks as crimes punishable by law, and the prosecution of offenders in this respect. These aspects should be included in the status-of-forces, status-of-mission, and the host country agreements between the UN and host countries. We note that there have been some casualties in the conduct of peacekeeping due to malicious acts during the current and last year. We expect the DPKO to apprise the members states on a regular basis as to how is the process of accountability progressing in that regard.
It is to be underlined that the best assurance against risks is to have properly planned, trained, resourced, and clearly mandated peacekeeping missions, with a committed engagement of the international community to politically resolve the disputes. Peacekeeping operations are not a panacea for solving all armed conflicts.
Third with regard to partnerships, my delegation considers these intrinsic for a productive division of labour. Partnerships based on comparative advantage have become necessary as we see the extraordinary demands being placed on peacekeeping both in terms of numbers of operations and diversity of tasks. The nature of peacekeeping has evolved rapidly. However, we need to exercise caution in how we address this.
Indeed complimentary partnerships with important stakeholders such as from the regional organisations, BWIs (Bretton Woods Institutions), and private sector, will serve to ease the pressure on the peacekeepers facilitating them to focus on their core military work. We welcome the proposal by Secretary General to establish dedicated interdisciplinary capacity for partnerships, and look forward to concrete initiatives through this and other arrangements.
Fourth on resources, it goes without saying that the UN peacekeeping machinery can only deliver if it is adequately financed, and able to employ the most appropriate human and material resources. In matters of keeping peace, less than satisfactory skilled staff and insufficient delivery on the ground can lead to devastating consequences. It is a travesty that the whole budget of DPKO remains only 0.5% of the global military spending. The TCCs from the developing countries, in particular, should be supported materially and technically, and in this regard the regional centres being established by the DPKO should be optimally utilised.
The question of resources is profound not only in terms of the existing and planned UN peacekeeping missions but also in the context of the broader post-conflict peacebuilding effort. It is almost pointless to argue when the peacekeeping ends and the peacebuilding begins. ‘One size does not fit all’, but the overwhelming evidence of world conflicts resolution shows that apart from tackling the political root causes of conflict, an integrated approach with an equal emphasis on social and economic development factors is necessary.
Fifth on organisation, my delegation welcomes the restructuring of the DPKO and the setting up of the DFS. We await the report of the Secretary General on this subject. We underscore that the goal of restructuring is to achieve a result-oriented reform of the UN peacekeeping architecture. The reform focus should be directed at comprehensively addressing the bottlenecks in critical areas such as in the safety and security of the missions, unity of command at all levels, coherence in peacekeeping policy and strategy, close coordination and communication with the TCCs, and the operational capacity at both field and headquarters. We understand that this reform would not be easy to accomplish. We hope that the Secretariat will share with us the information on challenges in this regard so the member states can provide timely inputs to assist.
We note that there are some missions, which are not provided an adequate number of personnel, and requisite equipment, whereas other missions are properly resourced. The Secretariat should have a proper and transparent review mechanism that ensures that all missions are equipped in a balanced manner. Such review mechanism would help in a more effective allocation of the limited resources.
Finally, let me just say that lasting peace is only realised when the conflicts are addressed by the international community equitably, in full conformity with the principles of the international law and UN Charter.