|Agenda Item 31: Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in all their Aspects|
|Monday, 27 October 2008 12:32|
Statement by H.E Mr. H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, Ambassador / Permanent Representative to the United Nations at the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) on Agenda Item 31: Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in all their Aspects
Our congratulations to you and bureau, on your effort and we shall support cooperate you in your group work.
We take this opportunity to welcome Under-Secretaries General, Mr. Alain Le Roy and, Ms. Susana Malcorra and thank them for their very informative briefings to this Committee.
My delegation associates itself with the Non-Aligned Movement statement delivered by Morocco.
Over the last six decades UN peacekeeping operations have expanded both in scope and scale. Over 100 thousand personnel deployed in 18 Missions around the world represent a clear evidence of the surge in demand for the UN Peacekeeping and its efficacy. Given the fact hat peacekeeping operations have become ever more multifaceted, and that the dynamics of each situation are often unique and complex, one cannot over emphasize the importance in strictly being guided by the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter, when peacekeeping operations are conceived and controled. Observance of principles as a clear mandate, the consent of the parties, specially the elected governments, non-intervention in matters within the domestic jurisdiction, non-use of force except in self-defence and the defence of the mandate and, impartiality, will continue to be an indispensable ground rule. These principles are indispensable too, to the success of a peacekeeping mission and in ensuring the safety and security of our peacekeepers.
The diversity and complexity of new peacekeeping operations have made it clear to us, the member states, the need to respond to the emerging challenges to the international peace and security with due diligence and commitment. In this context, the primary responsibility of the United Nations in maintaining global peace and security has become more pertinent today. Regional arrangements implemented in accordance with the provisions of Chapter Viii of the UN Charter can compliment the UN efforts in this regard. However, the success of a peacekeeping mission largely depends on the political support it receives and also on the adequate and timely provision of financial, logistical and human resources.
Sri Lanka is pleased to have been able to make a modest contribution of troops to UN peacekeeping. We will of course continue to support this endeavour which has now become a flagship activity of the UN. We make our contribution and share our experience with greater satisfaction at this Session of the UNGA, at a time when Sri Lanka marks forty-eight years since its first contribution to the UN peacekeeping effort – that was the UN Mission – in Congo. Peacekeeping operations have provided opportunities for personnel from different regions of the world to work together for a common goal of stabilizing situations, managing the humanitarian dimension and making sustainable peace, security and development possible. This effort should be made a mutually rewarding experience for the personnel involved as well as for the local peoples they serve, often under difficult conditions. When the United Nations is commemorating sixty years of its involvement in peacekeeping efforts in many troubled areas of the world, we believe that time is opportune to look in retrospect and take stock while taking on board the lessons learnt and best practices over the past years.
In this regard, we note the restructuring process commenced last year within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the creation of the new Department of Field Support (DFS). We were pleased to hear Under-Secretary General Le Roy’s assurance to this Committee that the two departments would work hand-in-hand to provide management, direction and support for peacekeeping operations ensuring partnership and cooperation at all levels. Effective and efficient coordination between the two departments and with field missions at all levels indeed is of paramount importance to the success of the peacekeeping operations. Hence, we look forward to receiving a detailed feed back on the progress made in this reform process.
The safety and security of our troops and other UN personnel is a top priority for all of us and, this could only be guaranteed if the peacekeeping operations remains a transparent, and all inclusive process, from its planning and designing phase up to the implementation stage. Operations should have clearly defined mandates and achievable targets, as well as contingency plans and strategies for exit.
In this regard, we reiterate the importance of closer and active involvement with Troop Contributing Countries when deciding on new peacekeeping missions or extending the mandates of the current Missions. The partnership among the two departments, the Troop Contributing Countries and the Security Council needs to be strengthened and, the expertise and experience of Troop Contributing Countries should be put to the best use, through enhanced cooperation and dialogue. Further, efforts need to be made to prevent undue delays in communicating with the TCCs and appraising them on developments in the Field Missions, especially in emergency situations that involve casualties.
We recognize the necessity for adequate human resources for the two departments to carry out the demanding and arduous tasks entrusted to them. When the strengthening of the Office of Military Advisor and the reform process within the police division progress, we hope that the shortcomings in the staffing will also be addressed. We therefore renew our call for the Secretary-General to expedite his efforts in ensuring fair and equitable representation opportunities for Troop Contributing Countries from developing world, within the decision making and professional level staff, in the Secretariat as well as in the Field Missions. My delegation also wishes to reiterate the need for an efficient and transparent mechanism for the open competitive recruitment system, to select candidates for UN vacancies.
Conduct and discipline of troops remains at the center of the credibility of any peacekeeping mission. We reiterate our commitment to the policy of zero tolerance on misconducts, and in particular, sexual exploitation and abuse. The Model MOU concluded last year, by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operation (C-34), to improve discipline and conduct of the troops deployed in UN peacekeeping operations and to promote accountability on any alleged misbehavior is an important step in this regard. We hope the Secretariat will incorporate the amendments recommended by the C-34 and, approved by the General Assembly, into the existing MoU between the United Nations and Troop Contributing Countries, and proceed to implement them soon.
This will no doubt, clarify issues pertaining to exclusive jurisdiction of Member States and the role of the Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS) in this regard. We emphasize the necessity of conducting the OIOS investigations in a manner that complies with the standards and requirements of national legal procedures on investigations. Transparency in conducting UN investigations will ensure coherence with parallel investigations by the national authorities and pave the way for Member States to continue and conclude investigations according to their national laws and bring the offenders to justice.
While we could not condone any violations of the UN code of conduct by the peacekeepers, we wish to underline important responsibility the UN has to safeguard the principle of innocence until proven guilty and avoid uninvestigated allegations regarding misconduct being sensationalized by media before facts are ascertained and substantiated.
We believe that open, transparent and constructive engagement will help resolve many complex issues that arise in the challenging business of multilateral peacekeeping around the world. The Special Committee, as the only forum mandated to address all matters related to UN Peacekeeping operations, can deliver better, if we stay focused and understand the real challenges before us. We hope that the forthcoming C-34 forum, unlike the last two sessions, which took an unduly long time to conclude, will facilitate such constructive engagement.
In conclusion Mr. Chairman, we reiterate our continued commitment to the UN Peace keeping endeavours. We also wish to express our gratitude to those peacekeeping personnel who serve in often difficult, complex and harsh conditions. We pay our profound respect and tribute to those fallen blue helmets for making the supreme sacrifice while pursuing the noble task of maintaining international peace and security.