June 1, 2015

As the world faces an unprecedented demand for international peacekeeping in conflict areas, the international community – members of the United Nations – must step up its efforts to ensure that those who serve under the mission have the necessary skills and tools to effectively do the work they have been entrusted, says U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power, speaking at a UN occasion that marked the International Day of UN Peacekeeper.

“We pay tribute to the contributions and sacrifices of those serving under blue helmets worldwide, and we honor those who have died in the service of peace,” said Ambassador Power. “Over the past year and a half, a UN peacekeeper has been killed on duty an average of once every three days, a testament to the difficult conditions in which they bravely serve.”

Over tens of thousands of UN peacekeepers are stationed around the world, mostly in conflict areas such as Somalia, Uganda, Mali, where they often work under extreme conditions to bring about some form of peace, security and stability to civilians.

However, while many peacekeeping missions strive to protect civilians, in recent months there’s been news reports of misconduct and alleged abuse of innocent civilians – including sexual abuse of children by a handful of UN Peacekeepers.

The alleged issue is currently being investigated by a UN Secretary General’s High-Level Independent Panel on Peacekeeping Operations, which will later issue a report and recommend guidance on institutional reform.

Ambassador Power said there is needs for “bold institutional reforms” to address these alleged misconducts and abuses that have given the mission a black eye. She asked member states to help improve peacekeeping process and performance by developing local troop capacity to respond to situation.

“As member states, we must do more ourselves, We need to help build the capacity of those countries that put their troops in harm’s way – which the United States is doing, for example, through the Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative and our new African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership,” said Ambassador Power. “We need to consider what further contributions of troops, police and military enablers can be made to meet the current and future needs of UN peacekeeping. It is incumbent upon member states, the UN Secretariat, and all who support UN Peacekeeping to make it more capable, more nimble, more accountable, and more reliable than it has ever been, because that is what today’s challenges require.”

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