SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Ivory Coast’s Priorities in the UN Security Council: Postwar Peace

The Ivory Coast holds the rotating presidency in December in the United Nations Security Council at a pivotal point in its membership in the world body. The West African country was elected to its current term in the Council just as the last peacekeeping troops left in 2017, ending the UN’s presence there after a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

When Is an Attack on UN Peacekeepers a War Crime and When Is It Not?

The recent attack by a militia on the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which seven peacekeepers were killed, highlighted a question that the Security Council has hesitated to confront for years. What are the consequences when UN peacekeeping missions become parties to the conflict? The Security Council responded to the latest attacks on Monusco, as the … Read more

The UN’s Combat Troops in the Congo: ‘They Were Not Supposed to Die’

United Nations peacekeepers working for the mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were killed by a militia in a jungle in North Kivu Province on Nov. 15, leaving seven soldiers dead: six Malawians and one Tanzanian. Ten were injured. Twelve members of the Congolese armed forces were also killed, as national forces and … Read more

The UN Secretary-General Pushes Ahead on Peacekeeping Reform

Responding to a December request from the General Assembly for details on how he proposes to staff and pay for sweeping changes in political affairs and peacekeeping at the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres has drafted a 50-page explanation for member states to consider. The General Assembly had agreed in principle to his original 16-page … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Unprepared and Unprotected: UN Peacekeepers’ Lives Must Be Saved

The 15 deaths and 43 injuries to United Nations troop personnel in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December would not, sadly, have surprised those of us who have served in peace enforcement missions with the UN. These are difficult and dangerous places, where rebels have many advantages of … Read more

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GEOPOLITICS

Guterres’s Grand Plan to Remake the UN’s Peace and Security ‘Pillar’

António Guterres, the UN secretary-general

Considerable restructuring of the peacekeeping, political affairs and peace-building departments of the United Nations is being proposed by Secretary-General António Guterres as he continues to embark on reforming the world body, which contends with increasingly complex crises and conflicts each year. In a 16-page document obtained by PassBlue and to be submitted soon to the UN’s 193 … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Dear Mr. Guterres: Please Be a Hammarskjoldian Secretary-General

As much as this moment of unity among the United States, Russia and other Security Council members coming together on António Guterres as the next United Nations secretary-general is to be relished, it’s not just the who that matters. It’s the what of the job. Unless the big powers are willing to let Guterres play … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Special Envoys: Viceroys of the UN

SYDNEY, Australia — As with most innovations at the United Nations, the genesis of the concept of the special representative, or special envoy, of the secretary-general can be traced back to Dag Hammarskjold, the UN secretary-general. Special envoys were dispatched earlier than the Hammarskjold era; they included Folke Bernadotte, a Swede, and his successor, Ralph … Read more

The UN Tightens Rules on Peacekeeping Troops’ Medical Status

Peacekeepers from Ecuador, left, and Chile providing care at the Fraternite Notre Dam Medical Clinic, above the hills of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. LOGAN ABASSI/MINUSTAH

Almost five years after a rampaging cholera epidemic coursed through the Artibonite River region of Haiti and moved rapidly around the country, the United Nations, which acknowledges that a deadly strain of the disease originated in or around a Nepali peacekeepers’ base, is tightening medical prevention rules for soldiers and police. National governments will now … Read more

UN Security Council and Troop Contributors Chided by Review Panel

While restructuring at the top of the United Nations and better strategies and tactics for troops on the ground are issues provoking discussion and controversy after the recent release of a report by a high-level panel on current and future peacekeeping, less attention has been paid to the experts’ admonitions to the Security Council and … Read more

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El Salvador Is Sending Peacekeepers and Helicopters to UN’s Mali Mission

The small Central American nation of El Salvador has been playing an increasingly active role in United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world. From the UN mission in Haiti to the one in South Sudan, troops from El Salvador are assisting with surveillance and rapid response, including engineering, refueling and aircraft support operations on the … Read more

A Rape Accusation in Northern Mali and the UN’s Awkward Response

A woman in Gao after the French attack in January 2013.

Now that Gao, a remote but critical outpost in northern Mali, has become a hub of military personnel — Mali Army, French troops and UN peacekeepers — to fend off terrorist incursions, it is also a simmering spot for sexual assaults and intimidation of women who live there. These acts are committed in the shadows … Read more

Congo Army Rapes Detailed in UN Report as Special Brigade Arrives

UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region visit in Goma

The cycle of sexual violence that has been churning throughout the eastern half of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has refused to stop, despite all the steps the United Nations has taken over decades to end the epidemic. Just last fall, systematic rapes, committed by the Congolese Army, occurred in an area around Minova, … Read more

A New UN Brigade Will Make Combat Moves in Congo

Nyanzale refugee camp children

  For the first time, the United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution allowing UN troops to go on the offensive in a mission against armed rebels. The combat intervention brigade will operate as part of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco). The … Read more

Helping Congolese Women, One Community at a Time

League for Congolese Solidarity

Two innovative women from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where violence against women and girls has been harsh and unrelenting through years of lawlessness and civil conflict, came to New York in early March with a message of progress and hope. They have been chipping away at the epidemic of abuse, working not … Read more

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GOINGS-ON

Mary Robinson, New UN Special Envoy for Central Africa?

Mary Robinson of The Elders

Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland, United Nations high commissioner for human rights and philanthropist, is said to be the main candidate for the new United Nations special envoy post for the Great Lakes region in central Africa. The area generally covers Burundi, northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and some parts … Read more

Illegal Gold Mining Runs Rampant in Eastern Congo

Internally displaced people in Congo

Gold is now one of the most problematic conflict minerals in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and United Nations Security Council sanctions on the illegal mining of natural resources, including gold, have done little to prevent smugglers from profiting, says a new report from a German foundation. The foundation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, is a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Protecting Civilians: How It Works

A girl in Freetown, Sierra Leone

CANBERRA, Australia — A steady rise has been occurring in the last two centuries in the proportion of civilians killed in armed conflict, either from direct violence or conflict-related hunger and disease. The international community has responded to the calls to protect innocent victims by developing two parallel principles, the protection of civilians and the … Read more

BOOKS

Reasons to Love and Criticize the UN

Minustah in Haiti peacekeepers

In his new book, “Living With the UN: American Responsibilities and International Order,” Kenneth Anderson forces readers who lean sympathetically toward the United Nations to consider why they support it despite its faults. On the other hand, the acerbic views of Anderson, a law professor at American University, about the UN are deeply colored by his … Read more

Five New Security Council Members, Many New Agendas

UN General Assembly elects nonpermanent Security Council members

As the five newly elected United Nations Security Council members prep for their seats, what will their work look like when they take office Jan. 1 for two years? It’s impossible to predict how the winners – Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda – will fill their nonpermanent seats among Britain, China, France, Russia … Read more

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