Years of UN peacekeeping efforts
Student’s Scientific Society «Integral»
ESSAY: YEARS OF UN PEACEKEEPING EFFORTS
Section: English Language
Author: Sokolova Olga, School #5, Form 11A
Supervisor: Gorina Elena Vasilievna
English Teacher, 1st category,
School #5 with extensive English learning
1. Introduction 2
2. Origin of the UNO 3
3. The way UN works 4
3.1 Main bodies 4
3.2 Security Council activity 6
4. UN activity 8
4.1 UN peacekeeping missions 8
4.2 UN and human rights 12
4.3 UN humanitarian assistance to developing countries 14
5. Disarmament 15
5.1 UN activity in the sphere of disarmament 15
5.2 The problem of Iraqi military arsenal 16
5.2.1 Iraq/Kuwait conflict 17
5.2.2. UNIKOM Establishment 18
5.2.3. Blitzkrieg 20
6. Conclusion 23
7. References 24
8. Appendixes 25
Most people are familiar with the work of the United Nations in peacekeeping or in delivering humanitarian assistance to a far-off country. But the many ways in which the UN has a direct impact on all our lives, everywhere in the world, is not always so well-known.
Now that world mass media reflect the news about the UNO in detail, it is very challenging to know different points of view, and I took an interest in this problem. I heard about UN activity but didn’t reach the main point, like the majority of my coevals, who are familiar with the events that concern the UNO but don’t fully understand the essence of them. UN activity in preserving peace has attracted me most of all. The arms race, disputes between nations, wars, military conflicts have turned into the real danger to the mankind. I think that people must stop killing each other and end this violence. I’ve chosen the UN peacekeeping missions and especially in Iraq as a specific example of UN’s work. It is very urgent nowadays.
II. ORIGIN OF THE UNITED NATIONS
Day in, day out, the UN and its family of organizations work together and individually to protect human rights; promote the protection of the environment; help the advancement of women and the rights of children; fight epidemics, famine, poverty. Throughout the world, the UN and its agencies assist refugees and help improve telecommunication; deliver food aid and protect consumers; combat disease and help expand food production; make loans to developing countries and help stabilize financial markets. UN agencies define the standards for safe and efficient transport by air and sea, work to ensure respect for intellectual property rights and coordinate allocation of radio frequencies. The UN's work has a long-term impact on the quality of our lives.
The name "United Nations" was devised by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was first used in the "Declaration by United Nations" of January 1, 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers.
The United Nations Charter was drawn up by the representatives of 50 countries at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, which met at San Francisco from April 25 to June 26, 1945. Those delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks in August-October 1944. The Charter was signed on June 26, 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States.
The United Nations officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on October 24 each year.
III. THE WAY UN WORKS
The United Nations is an organization of sovereign nations. It provides the machinery to help find solutions to international problems or disputes, and to deal with pressing concerns that face people everywhere.
It does not legislate like a national parliament. But in the meeting rooms and corridors of the UN, representatives of almost all countries of the world -large and small, rich and poor, with varying political views and social systems -have a voice and vote in shaping the policies of the international community.
The UN has six main bodies listed below. All are based at UN Headquarters in New York, except the International Court of Justice, which is located at the Hague, Netherlands.
In addition, 14 specialized agencies, working in areas as diverse as health, finance, agriculture, civil aviation and telecommunications, are linked together through the Economic and Social Council. The UN and its specialized agencies constitute the UN system. Main bodies of the UN are: the General Assembly, Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice and the Secretariat.
3.1 Main Bodies
The General Assembly
The General Assembly, sometimes called the nearest thing to a world parliament, is the main deliberative body. All 185 Member States are represented in it, and each has one vote. Decisions on ordinary matters are taken by simple majority. Important questions require a two-thirds majority.
The Assembly holds its regular sessions from mid-September to mid-December. Special or emergency sessions are held when necessary. When the Assembly is not in session, its work goes on in special committees and bodies.
The Assembly has the right to discuss and make recommendations on all matters within the scope of the UN Charter - the Organization's founding document. It has no power to compel action by any Government, but its recommendations carry the weight of world opinion. The Assembly also sets policies and determines programs for the UN Secretariat, directs activities for development, and approves the UN budget, including peacekeeping operations. Occupying a central position in the UN, the Assembly receives reports from other organs, admits new Members and appoints the UN Secretary - General.
The Economic and Social Council
Working under the authority of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council coordinates the economic and social work of the UN and related specialized agencies and institutions. The Council has 54 members, and meets for a one-month session each year, alternating between New York and Geneva. The session includes a special meeting at the level of ministers to discuss major economic and social issues.
The Council oversees UN activities and policies promoting economic growth in developing countries, administering development projects, promoting the observance of human rights, and fostering international cooperation in areas such as housing, family planning, environmental protection and crime prevention.
The Trusteeship Council
The Trusteeship Council was established to ensure that Governments responsible for administering trust territories take adequate steps to prepare them for self-government or independence. The task of the Trusteeship System was completed in 1994, when the Security Council terminated the Trusteeship Agreement for the last of the original 11 UN Trusteeships - the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Palau), administered by the United States. All Trust Territories have attained self-government or independence, either as separate States or by joining neighbouring independent countries. The Trusteeship Council will now meet as and where circumstances so demand.
The International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice (also known as the World Court) is the main judicial organ of the UN, settling legal disputes between member states and giving advisory opinions to the UN and its agencies. It consists of 15 judges, elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council. Only countries may be parties in cases brought before the Court. If a country does not wish to take part in a proceeding, it does not have to do so (unless required by special treaty provisions), but if it accepts, it is obligated to comply with the Court's decision.
The Secretariat works for the other five organs of the UN and administers their programs. With a staff of some 8,900 under the regular budget, working at headquarters and all over the world, it carries out the day-to-day work of the UN. At its head is the Secretary - General.
He plays a central role in peacemaking, both personally and through special envoys. The Secretary - General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which appears to threaten international peace and security. To help resolve disputes, the Secretary - General may use "good offices" to carry out mediation, or exercise "quiet diplomacy" behind the scenes. The Secretary - General also conducts "preventive diplomacy" to help resolve disputes before they escalate.
In many instances, the Secretary - General has been instrumental in securing a peace agreement or in averting a threat to peace. The current secretary general is Kofi Annan, who succeeded Boutros Boutros Ghali in 1997 (see appendix C).
Staff members are drawn from some 170 countries.
3.2 Security Council Activity
The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is so organized as to be able to function continuously, and a representative of each of its members must be present at all times at United Nations Headquarters.
When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council's first action is usually to recommend to the parties to try to reach agreement by peaceful means. In some cases, the Council itself undertakes investigation and mediation. It may appoint special representatives or request the Secretary - General to do so or to use his good offices. It may set forth principles for a peaceful settlement.
When a dispute leads to fighting, the Council's first concern is to bring it to an end as soon as possible. It also sends United Nations peace-keeping forces to help reduce tensions in troubled areas, keep opposing forces apart and create conditions of calm in which peaceful settlements may be sought. The Council may decide on enforcement measures, economic sanctions (such as trade embargoes) or collective military action.
A member state against which preventive or enforcement action has been taken by the Security Council may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. A member state which has persistently violated the principles of the Charter may be expelled from the United Nations by the Assembly on the Council's recommendation.
The presidency of the Council rotates monthly, according to the English alphabetical listing of its member states (see appendix D).
The Council has 15 members - five permanent members and 10 elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term.
The following countries ended their two-year membership term on December 31, 1997:
· Republic of Korea
Each Council member has one vote. Decisions on procedural matters are made by an affirmative vote of at least nine of the 15 members. Decisions on substantive matters require nine votes, including the concurring votes of all five permanent members. This is the rule of "great power unanimity", often referred to as the "veto" power.
Under the Charter, all Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council. While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to Governments, the Council alone has the power to take decisions which member states are obligated under the Charter to carry out.
Under the Charter, the functions and powers of the Security Council are:
· to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
· to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
· to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
· to formulate plans for the establishment of a threat to peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
· to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
· to take military action against an aggressor;
· to recommend the admission of new members and the terms on which states may become parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice;
· to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in "strategic areas":
· to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary - General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court.
IV. UN ACTIVITY
4.1 UN Peace-Keeping Missions
United Nations peacekeepers, wearing distinctive UN blue helmets or berets, are dispatched by the Security Council to help implement peace agreements, monitor cease-fires, patrol demilitarized zones, create buffer zones between opposing forces, and put fighting on hold while negotiators seek peaceful solutions to disputes. But ultimately, the success of peacekeeping depends on the consent and cooperation of the opposing parties.
The UN does not have an army. For each peacekeeping mission, member states voluntarily provide troops and equipment, for which they are compensated from a special peacekeeping budget. Police officers, election observers, human rights monitors and other civilians sometimes work alongside military personnel in peacekeeping operations. Lightly armed for self-defense — and often unarmed — peacekeepers’ strongest “weapon” is their impartiality. They rely on persuasion and minimal use of force to defuse tensions and prevent fighting. It is dangerous business; approximately 1,500 UN peacekeepers have died in the performance of their duties since 1945.
Rank-and-file soldiers on peacekeeping missions do not swear allegiance to the United Nations. Governments that volunteer personnel carefully negotiate the terms of their participation — including command and control arrangements. They retain ultimate authority over their own military forces serving under the UN flag, including disciplinary and personnel matters, and may withdraw their troops if they wish. Peacekeeping soldiers wear their own national uniforms. To identify themselves as peace-keepers, they also wear blue berets or helmets and the UN insignia.
The cost of UN peacekeeping personnel and equipment peaked at about $3 billion in 1995, reflecting the expense of operations in the former Yugoslavia. Peacekeeping costs fell in 1996 and 1997, to $1.4 billion and some $1.3 billion, respectively — and estimated budgetary requirements for 1998 are expected to drop to under $1 billion.
All Member States are obligated to pay their share of peacekeeping costs under a formula that they themselves have agreed upon. But as of 15 March 1998, member states owed the UN $1.7 billion in current and back peacekeeping dues. The United States is by far the largest debtor, owing $958 million.
Since 1945, there have been 48 United Nations peacekeeping operations. There are currently 16 under way. Thirty-five peacekeeping operations were created by the Security Council in the years between 1988 — when UN peacekeeping operations were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — and June 1998:
In Angola, UN mediation led to the 1994 peace accord and to the installation of a government of national unity in 1997, formally uniting a country devastated by 20 years of civil war. A UN operation is in place to help put the peace accord into effect. The UN also continues to provide humanitarian assistance to the Angolan people.
In Somalia, after the outbreak of civil war in 1991, the UN brought relief to millions facing starvation and helped to stop the large-scale killings. From 1992 to 1995, two UN operations sought to restore order, protect delivery of humanitarian relief, promote reconciliation and help reconstruction. Under difficult conditions, various UN agencies continue to provide humanitarian assistance.
The UN helped secure peace in Mozambique. The UN Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) was deployed in the country in 1992 to help put into effect the peace agreement between the Government and the Mozambican National Resistance. ONUMOZ monitored the cease-fire, verified the demobilization of combatants, coordinated humanitarian aid and observed in 1994 the country's first multi-party elections, which led to the peaceful installation of a new Government. Today, the World Bank, the UN Development Program and other parts of the UN family are working with the Government to help forge the economic and social progress needed to underpin the democratic process.
The UN helped end the 12-year conflict in Cambodia and organized the 1993 elections that led to the installation of a new Government. Earlier, the Secretary - General had used his "good offices" in the search for peace, helping to mediate the 1991 peace accord. The UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia was then deployed to supervise the cease-fire between the parties, disarm combatants, repatriate refugees, and organize and conduct the elections.
In Afghanistan, mediation by a UN envoy led to the 1988 agreements between Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Soviet Union and the United States aimed at ending the conflict. To help put the agreements into effect, the UN deployed an observer mission, which also verified Soviet troop withdrawal. The Secretary - General and his envoys have continued to work for a peaceful settlement of the continuing civil war. UN agencies provide assistance to the some 2.3 million Afghan refugees.
...in the Americas
The UN has helped resolve protracted conflicts in Central America. In Guatemala, UN-assisted negotiations resulted in the 1996 peace accord, ending a 35-year conflict during which over 100,000 people were killed. The UN began supervising talks between the Government and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity in 1991. In 1994, two agreements opened the way to a settlement of the conflict, and led to the deployment of the UN Mission for the Verification of Human Rights in Guatemala. The Mission has remained in the country to help put into effect the peace accord.
In 1990, the UN observed the first democratic elections in Haiti. After a military coup in 1991 forced the President into exile, the UN mediated an agreement for the return to democracy. As Haiti's military leaders did not comply with the agreement, the Security Council authorized in 1994 the formation of a multinational force to facilitate the leaders' departure. After the landing of a United States - led multinational force, the exiled President returned to Haiti in 1994. A UN peacekeeping force, which took over from the multinational force in 1995, contributes to stability in the young democracy.
In El Salvador, the Secretary - General assisted in peace talks between the Government and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). His mediation led to the 1992 peace agreement between the Government and FMLN, which ended the 12-year conflict. A UN Observer Mission monitored all agreements concluded between the parties and observed the 1994 elections.
A UN mission deployed between 1989 and 1992 contributed to ending the fighting in Nicaragua. It helped demobilize some 22,000 members of the Nicaraguan resistance (also known as "contras"), who in 1990 turned in their weapons to the UN. Another mission observed the 1990 elections - the first UN-observed elections in an independent country.
Throughout Central America, UN specialized agencies and programs are working hand in hand to ensure that refugees are safely repatriated and provided with the tools to start over. They also provide training for civil servants, police, human rights monitors and legal professionals to promote good governance and the rule of law.
Following the 1995 Dayton-Paris peace agreements, four UN missions were deployed to help secure the peace in the former Yugoslavia. The largest of them, the UN Transitional Administration in Eastern Slovenia, was established to govern this area and help reintegrate it into Croatia.
From 1991, the UN worked strenuously to resolve the conflict, providing at the same time relief assistance to some 4 million people. To help restore peace, the UN imposed an arms embargo in 1991, while the Secretary - General and his envoy assisted in seeking solutions to the conflict. From 1992 to 1995, UN peacekeepers sought to bring peace and security to Croatia, helped protect civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina and helped ensure that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was not drawn into the war.
UN agencies continue to provide humanitarian assistance to over 2 million people still suffering the effects of the conflict.
...in the Middle East
The Middle East has been a major concern of the UN. In 1948, the first UN military observer group monitored the truce called for by the Security Council during the first Arab-Israeli war. The first peacekeeping force was also set up in the Middle East, during the 1956 Suez crisis; it oversaw troop withdrawal and contributed to peace and stability.
Two peacekeeping forces are deployed in the region. The UN Disengagement Observer Force, established in 1974, maintains an area of separation on the Golan Heights between Israeli and Syrian troops. In southern Lebanon, a UN Force established in 1978 contributes to stability and provides protection to the population.
Hand in hand with peacekeeping, the UN has sought a lasting settlement in the Middle East. Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) set forth the principles for a just and lasting peace, and remain the basis for an overall settlement. Following the 1993 landmark agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, a UN Coordinator has been overseeing all development assistance provided by the UN to the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) provides essential health, education, relief and social services to over 3 million registered Palestinian refugees.
Military peacekeepers are the most visible, but not the only, UN peace presence in the field. UN envoys and other civilian personnel are engaged in diplomacy, human rights monitoring and other peace efforts in scores of regions threatened or afflicted by fighting often in the most difficult situations.
4.2 UN and Human Rights
The Charter goals of justice and equal rights, for individuals and for peoples, have been pursued by the UN from its early days.
As one of its first tasks, the UN formulated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a historic proclamation of the basic rights and freedoms to which all men and women are entitled - the right to life, liberty and nationality, to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to work, to be educated, to take part in government, and many other rights. The General Assembly adopted the Declaration on 10 December 1948, a date commemorated every year as Human Rights Day.
Two International Covenants adopted in 1966 - one on economic, social and cultural rights and the other on civil and political rights - have expanded and made legally binding the rights set forth in the Declaration. These three documents constitute the International Bill of Human Rights, a standard and a goal for all countries and peoples.
The UN has also put in place mechanisms to further human rights. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights coordinates all the human rights activities of the UN, seeks to prevent violations, investigates abuses and works with Governments in resolving violations.
The UN Commission on Human Rights is the only intergovernmental body that conducts public meetings on human rights abuses brought to its attention and reviews the human rights performance of all Member States. Special reporters of the Commission monitor the human rights problems in specific countries.
UN missions are monitoring the human rights situation in Haiti, Guatemala and Eastern Slovenia (Croatia).
The Security Council has established international tribunals to try persons accused of war crimes during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda. The tribunals have indicted several individuals and brought a number of defendants to trial.
Self-determination and independence.
A fundamental right - self-determination, or the right of peoples to govern themselves - was a goal when the Charter was signed. Today, it has become a reality in most of the lands formerly under colonial rule.
In 1960, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, in which it proclaimed the need to bring colonialism to a speedy end. Since then, some 60 former colonial Territories, inhabited by more than 80 million people, have attained independence and joined the UN as sovereign Members.
Today, 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remain, inhabited by some 2 million people. The Assembly has set the goal of ending colonialism by the year 2000, declaring the 1990s the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.
The UN helped bring about the independence of Namibia, achieved in 1990. The General Assembly in 1966 revoked South Africa's Mandate to administer the territory - a decision South Africa rejected. Complex negotiations led in 1989 to the implementation of the 1978 UN plan for the independence of Namibia. The UN Transition Assistance Group was deployed throughout Namibia to monitor the withdrawal of South African troops, the registration of voters, and the 1989 elections, which led to the installation of the first independent Government and to Namibia's independence.
To further democratization, the UN has also observed elections, at Government request, in sovereign member states: in Nicaragua and Haiti (1990), Angola (1992), El Salvador, South Africa and Mozambique (1994), as well as the referendum on the independence of Eritrea (1993). In other instances - such as Malawi, Lesotho and Armenia - the UN has coordinated international observers provided by member states.
Observers typically follow the preparation and holding of the election; on election day, they are deployed to polling stations throughout the country, observe voting and vote counting, and issue a final statement on the conduct of the election.
Since 1992, the UN has provided technical assistance in the preparation and holding of elections to over 70 countries. Such assistance, which may involve coordination and support, advisory services and short-term observation, is instrumental in building the capacity of countries to run their elections in the future.
Apartheid applies to all aspects of life. Socially, blacks had to live apart from the other races. Politically, they could not vote. Economically, they could work only in the lowest paying occupations.
The UN helped to bring an end in 1994 to South Africa's apartheid (racial segregation) system. For more than three decades, the UN carried out a sustained campaign against apartheid. The campaign, which ranged from an arms embargo to a convention against segregated sports events, helped to bring about a democratically elected Government in 1994, through elections in which, for the first time, all South Africans could vote. The UN Observer Mission in South Africa assisted in the transition and observed the election. With the installation of a non-racial and democratic government, the apartheid system came to an end.
The UN has made major contributions towards expanding the rule of law among nations through its development and codification of international law. The International Court of Justice has assisted countries in solving important legal disputes and has issued advisory opinions on UN activities.
The UN has initiated hundreds of conventions and treaties covering virtually all areas of international law - from international trade to environmental protection. Action has been particularly strong in human rights law.
For instance, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is the main international legal instrument to further women's equality. The Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs is the key international treaty against drug trafficking. The Convention on the Law of the Sea seeks to ensure equitable access by all countries to the riches of the oceans, protect them from pollution and facilitate freedom of navigation and research.
4.3 UN Humanitarian Assistance to Developing Countries
When countries are stricken by war, famine or natural disaster, the UN helps provide humanitarian aid. Part of this aid is in the form of direct assistance from the UN operational agencies and programs: The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Program (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Development Program (UNDP).
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is responsible for the protection and assistance of over 26 million people around the world who have fled war or persecution, seeking at the same time durable solutions to their plight. In early 1997, UNHCR's major operations were in the Great Lakes region of Africa, with over 1.4 million people in need; the former Yugoslavia (over 2 million people); and western Asia (some 2.3 million Afghan refugees).
All UN emergency relief is coordinated by the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, who heads the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs.
In 1996, the UN raised $1.3 billion for emergency assistance to over 22 million people around the world.
5.1 UN Activity in the Sphere of Disarmament
Halting the arms race and reducing and eventually eliminating all weapons of war are major concerns of the UN. The UN has been a permanent forum for disarmament negotiations, making recommendations and initiating studies. Negotiations have been held bilaterally and through international bodies such as the Conference on Disarmament, which meets regularly in Geneva.
The General Assembly adopted in 1996 the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a landmark agreement that aims at banning all nuclear-weapon tests.
In a major step in advancing non-proliferation, States parties in 1995 extended indefinitely the 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Under this Treaty, nuclear-weapon States agree not to provide nuclear weapons to other countries and to pursue nuclear disarmament; non-nuclear weapon States agree not to acquire nuclear weapons. Concluded under UN auspices, the Treaty has been ratified by over 170 countries.
Other treaties have been concluded to prohibit the development, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons (1992) and bacteriological weapons (1972); reduce conventional armed forces in Europe (1990); ban nuclear weapons from the seabed and ocean floor (1971) and outer space (1967); and ban or restrict other classes of weapons
The United Nations proposed another disarmament agreement in 1972. The 100 nations that signed this Seabed Agreement agreed never to place nuclear weapons on the ocean floor. Both the Soviet Union and the United States were among the signers.
In 1996, States parties strengthened a Protocol restricting the use, production and transfer of landmines – “silent killers” that slay or maim some 20,000 people each year. According to the UN, there are some 110 million landmines in over 70 countries, and 2 million new landmines are laid every year.
The subject of mine clearance is one of critical importance that has recently taken center stage in the forum of pressing world issues. As regards the work of the United Nations, the process of demining is fundamental to the UN's ability to deliver programs effectively in war-torn countries or post-war environments, whether such undertakings be related to peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance or rehabilitation.
Over the past seven years, the need for mine clearance has grown significantly in a number of regions around the world. As a result, the UN is increasingly called upon to operate mine clearance programs in areas that are completely infested with landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). Consequently, prior to any large deployment of personnel or equipment to a given area, the UN must prepare for a safe working environment by initiating preliminary mine clearance activities in localized areas. Once this has been completed, a broader operation can be accommodated to conduct mine clearance activities on a more comprehensive scale.
The clearance of areas for use by a supported nation is undertaken only when specially mandated by the Security Council. It is standard procedure for the UN to not only performs mine clearance but also to assist a supported nation in the development of its own sustainable clearance capacity. The UN program may include such topics as mine awareness, mine marking, mine survey, mine clearance as well as unexploded ordinance disposal. Additionally, the program's overall efforts may go beyond mine-specific issues to cover related areas, such as management and logistics, training and support.
The UN may vary its approach to each situation as there are currently no standardized templates or universal procedures established for mine clearance activities world-wide.
Mine Clearance in the United Nations is presently divided into two areas of responsibility :
· which plans and advises on mine clearing activities carried out under United Nations auspices as well as maintains contact with Governments and organizations that participate in or contribute to these activities.
· which serves as the focal point for coordinating all humanitarian mine clearance and related activities.
These two units work together to ensure a seamless approach to United Nations Mine Clearance Activities.
5.2 The Problem of Iraqi Military Arsenal
One of the last UN operations on eliminating all weapons was connected with the investigation of Iraqi arsenal, as there were some data proving that Iraq possesses very dangerous weapons that might be lethal to the mankind.
The nation of Iraq is relatively young; the country achieved independence in 1932. Since then, Iraq has been almost perpetually at war with its neighbors. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, leading to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Iraq has been under international sanctions since the invasion and the United Nations refused to lift them until it is convinced that Iraq has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction. The United States and Britain threatened air strikes in 1998 over Iraq's refusal to allow UN weapons inspectors' free access to all sites. The United States and its allies patrol a no-fly zone over northern Iraq to protect Kurds from attack and in the south to protect Shiite Muslims.
Almost all countries are concerned with Iraq's unwillingness to allow UN inspectors investigate its military arsenal. For example Swedish diplomat Rolf Ekeus - who led the UN investigations from the cease-fire through the summer of 1997 and headed to Baghdad for talks, said that they had declared everything. Iraq stated that no documents existed in Iraq because they had been destroyed. That was exploded totally, because Iraq itself admitted in writing even that it had been lying. Cheating systematically from when we started in 1991 up until this very date in August of 1995.
5.2.1 Iraq/Kuwait conflict
To understand the essence of the conflict it is necessary to descry the reasons of the conflict. Shortly after the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq’s military dictator, Saddam Hussein, accused Kuwait of taking an unfair share of oil revenues. In August 1990 he made the claim that Kuwait was a part of Iraq and ordered his armies to invade and occupy Kuwait.
The Iraqi invasion alarmed President Bush and other world leaders for three reasons. First, it was an act of aggression by a strong nation against a weaker nation. (Iraq in 1990 had the fourth largest military force in the world.) Second, the taking of Kuwait opened the way to an Iraqi conquest of the world’s largest oil-producing nation, Saudi Arabia. Third, the combination of Iraq’s military power and aggressive actions would allow it to dominate the other countries of the Middle East.
To prevent further aggression, President Bush ordered 200,000 troops to Saudi Arabia, followed later by an additional 300,000. “We have drawn a line in the sand,” said the president, as he announced a defensive effort called Operation Desert Shield. US troops were joined by other forces from a UN-supported coalition of 28 nations including Great Britain, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Egypt.
Members of the UN Security Council, including both the United States and the Soviet Union, voted for a series of resolution concerning Iraq’s aggression. One UN resolution demanded Iraq’s unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. Other resolutions placed an international embargo on trade with Iraq and authorized UN members to use force if Iraqi troops did not leave Kuwait by January 15, 1991. As the January deadline neared, members of Congress debated whether or not to authorize the president to send US troops into combat in the Persian Gulf. Both houses voted in favor of the war resolution. [ ]
The Gulf War had far greater significance to the emerging post-cold war world than simply reversing Iraqi aggression and restoring Kuwait. In international terms, we tried to establish a model for the use of force. First and foremost was the principle that aggression cannot pay. If we dealt properly with Iraq, that should go a long way toward dissuading future would-be aggressors. We also believed that the US should not go it alone, that a multilateral approach was better. [ ]
5.2.2. UNIKOM Establishment
On 3 April 1991, the Security Council adopted resolution 687 (1991), which set detailed conditions for a cease-fire and established the machinery for ensuring implementation of those conditions. By resolution 687 (1991) the Council established a demilitarized zone along the border between Iraq and Kuwait, to be monitored by a UN observer unit.
On 9 April 1991, the Security Council adopted resolution 689 (1991) which approved the Secretary General's plan for the establishment of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM). The UNIKOM advance party arrived in the area on April 1991. UNIKOM was established to monitor the Khawr 'Abd Allah and the DMZ set up along the border between Iraq and Kuwait, and to observe any hostile or potentially hostile action mounted from the territory of one State to the other.
The mandate was expanded in February 1993 by Security Council resolution 806 (1993), with the addition of an infantry battalion, to: take physical action to prevent, or redress, small scale violations of the DMZ and of the boundary between Iraq and Kuwait; and problems arising from the presence of Iraqi installations and citizens and their assets in the DMZ on the Kuwaiti side of the border. Since the demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait boundary in May 1993 by the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission, and the relocation of Iraqi citizens found to be on the Kuwaiti side of the border back into Iraq, the situation along the DMZ has been calm.
From the Security Council on down, nearly every UN diplomat, along with officials from many other countries, will not stop repeating their mantra: They want full and unfettered access to all sites in Iraq where the inspection team suspects weapons of mass destruction are hidden. And that is precisely what Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has refused to do, for the seven years that the inspection regime has been in force.
President Clinton has managed to put the United States on both sides of the diplomatic fence, repeatedly insisting America is making every effort to avoid violence, but is ready to use U.S. aircraft and cruise missiles to pound Iraq into submission if necessary.
The United States has assembled an armada in the Persian Gulf consisting of 30,000 soldiers, sailors, pilots and Marines, 20 warships, and more than 400 attack and support aircraft. Although it doesn’t compare to the huge multinational force that went to war with Iraq in 1991, neither does the coalition.
So far, only Britain and Canada have joined the United States in sending forces to the area. Most of the nations that supported the attack in 1991 seem to feel that a military solution is too unsubtle a tool for such a delicate diplomatic goal, and that the Iraqi people, already suffering under UN sanctions, do not need to endure another baptism by fire.
The demonstrations - never spontaneous and always state-organized - quickly became tedious affairs, with the same posters, the same chants, the same stunts.
What's more, the UN Security Council more than doubled the amount of oil Iraq can sell over six months in order to buy food, medicine and other goods for its people suffering from devastating sanctions imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. At that time to put pressure on Iraqi forces to withdraw, the United States and the UN voted to place an embargo on the purchase of Iraqi oil. The resulting drop in oil supplies quickly led to higher prices at gas stations all across the country.
The vote was unanimous in the 15-member body. The new program—which raises the permitted oil revenue from $2 billion to $5.256 billion—does not go into effect until Annan evaluates and approves an Iraqi plan for how the goods should be distributed.
Iraq has expressed irritation over the plan and delayed the previous versions of it, citing what it called infringements on its sovereignty. UN officials insist on the right to strictly monitor the aid given under the plan to make sure it reaches those who need it.
U.S. opinion polls show support for attacks on Iraq remains strong, hovering in the 60 percent range, but a disastrous “town hall” meeting in Ohio on Wednesday suggested it was equally fragile.
State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said families were not being ordered to leave Israel and Kuwait, but that they were being allowed to do so over concerns they may consider it prudent.
Iraqis have in the past threatened to attack both Israel and Kuwait in the event that Iraq is attacked. The United States this weekend is beefing up forces in Kuwait, and Israel has been urgently distributing gas masks.
“The probability of Iraq resorting to the use of chemical or biological weapons is remote, but it cannot be excluded,” Rubin said.
U.S. officials acknowledge that any attack on Iraq could hit hard at civilians there.
As a result of UNICOM work the following data concerning Iraqi military arsenal were received.
UN verified as destroyed
UN believes may exist.
|Launchers and launch pads||75||0|
|Munitions (filled and empty)||38,537||31,658|
|Precursor chemicals||3,000 tons||4,000 tons|
|Equipment for production||516||459|
|Although the Al Hakam factory, capable of producing anthrax and botulinum toxin, was raised, these and other agents have not been accounted for.|
The events that took place December 16, 1998 shocked the mankind. US and British forces launched a “strong, sustained” series of airstrikes against Iraq early Thursday, targeting military and security installations throughout the country. Pentagon sources said about 200 cruise missiles were fired from ships and manned fighter bombers in the first wave of what will be an “open-ended’ attack, designed to degrade Iraq’s ability to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Clinton accused Hussein of failing to live up to his commitment to allow unrestricted access to UN weapons inspectors. This is how chief CNN International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reported from a rooftop in downtown Baghdad: “An orange plume of smoke wafted over the city after one of the loudest bursts.” Allied missiles struck more than 50 separate targets” during the first wave of bombing that began overnight on Wednesday.
The military strikes – which came at night – followed a roughly 14-month period during which Baghdad officials periodically said they would no longer cooperate with the weapons inspectors. During that time, Baghdad also repeatedly demanded that crippling international sanctions, imposed after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait prior to the Gulf War, be lifted. The most recent escalation in the ongoing weapons standoff came in early November. At that time, Western powers threatened military strikes against Iraq. The threat was removed on November 14, when Baghdad agreed to cooperate fully with the weapons inspectors. But, US and British officials warned Baghdad that future airstrikes could come without warning should Iraqi leadership again refuse to cooperate with UNSCOM. To back up their threat, Western powers left in place the military might they had positioned in the Persian Gulf, within striking distance of Iraq. It was that military weaponry that was used on Thursday to conduct the strikes against Iraq. A stray missile from the allied attack on Iraq crashed into a southwestern Iranian border city Khorramshahr causing no casualties but prompting a strong diplomatic protest from Tehran.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry Shelton said the sites hit during the first bombing wave included weapons of mass destruction and barracks belonging to the Iraqi Republican Guard. US and British officials have said they will continue bombing Baghdad until they have achieved their goal which is not to destabilize the regime but to decrease his capacity to threaten his neighbours.
World community’s response was not unanimous. Many Russian politicians expressed their negative attitude to the bombing. Boris Yeltzin met with Evgeni Primakov, Russian Prime-minister, Nikolai Bordyuzha, Security Council secretary and Anatoly Kvashnin, General Staff commander where he claimed that Russia would demand conducting the UN Security Council summit to consider the situation in Iraq. Egor Stroyev, Federation Council chairman said that the US and British bombardment of Iraq is a strike not on Iraq but on public opinion and above all on UNO. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov expressed his point of view saying that military action ceasing would allow to renew the political process of Iraqi settlement. Moreover, he said that the report was made at the time when Iraqi leaders approved of their readiness to collaborate with UNSCOM. Russian Ambassador Yuli Vorontsov will return to Moscow for “consultations”.
The only country that fully backed American and British bombing of Iraq was Japan. Keidzo Obutti, the Prime Minister of this country has already received acknowledgement from the US president. According to his opinion Iraq didn’t fully cooperate with UN officials. Japan that is connected with the USA by economic and military union as well as strategic partnership always supports everything US does.
Tony Blair, the British prime minister is expected to be backed by the majority of deputies to the House of Commons. He said the attack, named Operation Desert Fox, was necessary because Hussein never intended to abide by his pledge to give unconditional access to UN inspectors trying to determine if Iraq has dismantled its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs. From morning some protesters-natives from Arab countries – Syria, Pakistan and Iraq – held demonstrations in Trafalgar Square and near prime minister’s residence situated in Downing street, 10. British people also fully agree with their government decision. Russian position is discussed by mass media. Moscow is said to have too little assets to seriously affect the situation. Today “Times” wrote: “Washington made it clear that the arguments of the country whose economic situation fully depends on financial assistance of Western countries won’t stop him.
Paris is reserved in its comments connected with the Iraqi bombing. France always adhered to diplomatic crisis regulation.
NATO Ministers of Defense have gathered in Brussels to discuss their position regarding the situation in the Persian Gulf. Nobody have expressed their wish to participate in military actions.
The UN Security Council held a special debate Wednesday evening on the military action. Diplomats said the meeting of the 15-nation council would enable members to voice their views on the crisis, but no council action was expected in the form of a resolution or other decision. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed regret the standoff had not been resolved diplomatically. Richard Butler, UNSCOM chairman, ordered UNSCOM staff out of Baghdad. The entire staff was evacuated before dawn on Wednesday.
Iraqi officials said at least 25 people had died and 75 were wounded in the Iraqi capital alone during two days of airstrikes.
The UNO, established to replace the existing League of Nations, faces very difficult situation in connection with Iraqi bombardment. The beginning of effective Iraqi resistance came with a rapidity which surprised us all, and we were perhaps psychologically unprepared for the sudden transition from peacemaking to fighting. Some say that Clinton wanted to delay the floor debate and vote on whether he should be impeached over his actions stemming from an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinski. Some questioned America's moral right to bomb Iraq, while others demanded that this time the US do the job properly and get rid of Saddam Hussein.
But by doing so the USA and Britain have violated the UN Charter according to which: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." [ ]
Many political leaders doubt the necessity to preserve the UNO as there were drastic actions made by it. I think that the main reason for it is that the USA is the main financial source of the UNO and the latter in its turn is not willing to lose it.
In some way, my work can be continued as the events that happen in the world change the situation greatly. The future will show whether the UNO will be preserved or whether it’ll lose its unique character.
1. Basic Facts about the UN. Sales No E.95.1.31;
2. Bush G., Scowcroft B. Why We didn’t Remove Saddam. Times, June 21, 1998;
3. Contreras Joseph, Watson Russel. Saddam Old Tricks. News Week, June 15, 1998;
4. Documents of the United Nations Department of Public Information;
5. Dr. Jan Azud Csc. The Peaceful Settlement of Disputes and the UN. Bratislava: Publishing House of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, 1970;
6. Inside UNSCOM: The Inspector. Transcript of interview with Charles Duelfer, Deputy Chairman of the UN Special Commission to Iraq.;
7. Iraq Bars UN Inspection Teams From Searching For Weapons. Copyright 1998. The Associated Press.;
8. Malt Bill G. Parade of the Dead Babies. Times. August 7, 1998;
9. Nelan Bruce W. Selling the War Badly. Times, March 2, 1998;
10. Osmanczyk Edmund Jan. The Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Relations. 2nd ed. New York: Taylor and Francis, 1990;
11. Peiser A., Serber M. U.S. History and Government. New York: Asmo School Publications, Inc., 1992;
12. Ritter Leaves Baghdad After Weapons Inspections. CNN News Release. March 10, 1998;
13. Saddam Hussein Freezes co-operation with UN inspectors. CNN News Release. August 5, 1998;
14. Scott Ritter Testifies In Senate. CNN News Release. September 4, 1998;
15. The UN Charter;
16. The World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: Field Enterprises, Inc.
17. U.S. Reacts Sternly to Iraq’s Rebuff of Inspectors. CNN News Release, December 9, 1998;
18. U.S., Britain Bombard Iraq. CNN News Release, December 16, 1998;
19. United Nations Iraq-Kuwait observation mission;
20. Wedeman Ben “Iraqis protest, but against what?”;
21. Western Forces Pound Baghdad in Second, “Stronger” Assault. CNN News Release, December 17, 1998;
CHARTER OF THE UN
WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
AND FOR THESE ENDS
to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,
HAVE RESOLVED TO COMBINE OUR EFFORTS TO ACCOMPLISH THESE AIMS
Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations.
The specialized agencies
· The International Labour Organization (ILO) formulates policies and programs to improve working conditions and employment opportunities, and defines international labour standards as guidelines for Governments;
· The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) works to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity and food security, and to better the conditions of rural populations;
· The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) promotes education for all cultural development, protection of the world's natural and cultural heritage, press freedom and communication;
· The World Health Organization (WHO) coordinates programs aimed at solving health problems and the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health: it works in areas such as immunization, health education and the provision of essential drugs;
· The World Bank group provides loans and technical assistance to developing countries to reduce poverty and advance sustainable economic growth;
· The International Monetary Fund (IMF) facilitates international monetary cooperation and financial stability, and provides a permanent forum for consultation, advice and assistance on financial issues;
· The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sets international standards necessary for the safety, security, efficiency and regularity of air transport, and serves as the medium for cooperation in all areas of civil aviation;
· The Universal Postal Union (UPU) establishes international regulations for the organization and improvement of postal services, provides technical assistance and promotes cooperation in postal matters;
· The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) fosters international cooperation for the improvement and use of telecommunications of all kinds, coordinates usage of radio and TV frequencies, promotes safety measures and conducts research;
· The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) promotes scientific research on the atmosphere and on climate change, and facilitates the global exchange of meteorological data and information;
· The International Maritime Organization (IMO) works to improve international shipping procedures, encourages the highest standards in marine safety, and seeks to prevent marine pollution from ships;
· The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) promotes international protection of intellectual property and fosters cooperation on copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs and patents;
· The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) mobilizes financial resources for better food production and nutrition among the poor in developing countries;
· The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) promotes the industrial advancement of developing countries through technical assistance, advisory services and training;
· The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an autonomous intergovernmental organization under the aegis of the UN, works for the safe and peaceful uses of atomic energy;
· The UN and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the major entity overseeing international trade, cooperate in assisting developing countries' exports through the Geneva-based International Trade Centre.
"I want an understanding that will help my mission and make it successful"
United Nations Secretary General
Kofi Atta Annan, current Secretary General of the United Nations, is a native of Ghana -- at the time of his birth, still a British colony called the Gold Coast. He was born April 8, 1938, in Kumasi, the descendant of a prominent family of paramount chieftains of the Fante people.. Annan began his education at a Ghanaian university, then completed a degree in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. He pursued graduate studies in Geneva at the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales. Again in the United States, Annan earned an M.S. in management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
By 1971, Annan had joined the United Nations.
His experience includes positions as Assistant Secretary General for Program Planning, Budget and Finance, head of human resources and security coordinator, director of the budget, chief of personnel for the High Commission for Refugees and administrative officer for the Economic Commission for Africa.
He was named Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations on March 1, 1993. In the peacekeeping post he did, however, take on a number of delicate and complex jobs. He was sent to Iraq to negotiate the release of hostages and the safe transport of a half-million Asian workers who had become stranded in that area. As representative of the UN Secretary General in Bosnia., he negotiated his way among the four powers who had intervened in Bosnia -- the United States, Britain, France and Russia.
On the evening of December 13, 1996, Annan was named Secretary General of the United Nations -- the first black African to hold the job.
In the future, Annan will grapple with the problem of gaining support for the United Nations from the organisation's sceptics, especially the U.S. Congress.
Membership and Presidency of the Security Council in 1998
Membership Term Ends
|February||Gabon||31 December 1999|
|March||Gambia||31 December 1999|
|April||Japan||31 December 1998|
|May||Kenya||31 December 1998|
|June||Portugal||31 December 1998|
|July||Russian Federation||Permanent Member|
|August||Slovenia||31 December 1999|
|September||Sweden||31 December 1998|
|October||United Kingdom||Permanent Member|
|November||United States||Permanent Member|
|December||Bahrain||31 December 1999|
|Brazil||31 December 1999|
|Costa Rica||31 December 1998|
The United Nations was established in the aftermath of a devastating war to help stabilize international relations and give peace a more secure foundation.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded five times to the United Nations and its organizations.
|Size:||437,072 sq. km|
|Leader:||President Saddam Hussein|
|Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian|
|Major Religions||Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%|
|Ethnic groups||Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%|
|Birth rate||43.07 births/1,000|
|Death rate||6.57 deaths/1,000|
|Fertility rate||6.41 children/woman|
|Male life expectancy||65|
|Female life expectancy||68|
|Infant mortality rate||60 deaths/1,000 live births|
|Gross domestic product (total value of goods and services produced annually)||$41.1 billion (1995 est.)|
|Debt||$50.0 billion (1989)|
|Highways||45,554 km (1989)|
President of Iraq
 Blitzkrieg (Ger.) – lightning war, traced back to WW II
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