The UN has done as much peace-keeping in the past four years as in the previous 40. Five years ago, UN member states were billed dollars 233m ( pounds 166m) for peace-keeping. Last year the figure was dollars 421m. The bill this year will be least dollars 2.9bn.
Where are the UN peace-keepers in place?
There are 12 peace-keeping operations at present:
The United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (Untso) in Jerusalem. Established in June 1948 after the the Arab-Israeli war. There are 300 military observers. Twenty-eight have died while on duty.
The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (Unmogip) monitors the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Thirty-nine military observers have supervised the line since January 1949 at an annual cost of dollars 5m with six fatalities.
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (Undof) on the Syrian Golan Heights. Established 1974. Force of 1,325 soldiers and seven military observers. Costs dollars 23m a year. Thirty fatalities to date.
The UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (Unficyp), established in 1964. Annual bill of dollars 31m for 2,158 troops and 37 police. One hundred and fifty-eight fatalities.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil), established in 1978 with a mandate to confirm 'the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Southern Lebanon'. Vastly outgunned, the force of 5,758 troops and 65 military observers has suffered 185 fatalities and costs dollars 157m a year to operate.
The United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (Unikom). Set up after the Gulf war in 1991 with 300 observers and 200 soldiers. This unarmed force patrols the demilitarised zone on the Iraq-Kuwait border. It costs dollars 67m a year to run.
The UN Angola Verification Mission (Unavem II). Set up in 1988 to verify the withdrawal of Cuban troops. Consists of 350 officers, 90 police monitors and 400 election observers for the autumn plebiscite. The cost will be dollars 110m.
UN Observer Mission (Onusal) in El Salvador, established 1991 with 1,003 military and police personnel to monitor human rights and the peace deal between the government and the rebels. Costs dollars 60m a year.
Western Sahara referendum mission (Minurso). Established in 1991 with a strength of 375 to prepare and run a referendum on the future of the Western Sahara. Moroccan and Polisario Front intransigence has held up agreement on who should be allowed to vote. It costs dollars 60m a year.
UN Protection Force (Unprofor). Established last March after the UN brokered a ceasefire following the brutal war in Croatia. Unprofor has a strength of 13,870 troops and 500 civilian staff and is deployed in eastern Croatia. The force has operated under harrowing conditions. The operation was targeted to cost dollars 607m a year, but the expansion of its role in Bosnia will add a further 6,000 troops paid for by the European countries contributing them. It has suffered 12 fatalities to date.
UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (Untac.) Probably the most ambitious peace-keeping operation, with 15,000 to 20,000 military and civilian personnel who will eventually take over administration of the country until a new government is elected and constitution adopted. The cost is estimated at dollars 1.9bn for the 15 months the operation is supposed to last.
UN Operation in Somalia (Unosom), being deployed to help deliver food to the 4.5 million Somalis facing imminent starvation due to the drought and civil war. The 3,000 military personnel will protect convoys and try to negotiate ceasefires between warring clans. It is expected to cost more than dollars 100m.
How successful are UN peace-keeping operations?
The 1988 Nobel Peace Prize recognised many successes. But in Cyprus success at averting bloodshed has masked failure to get the two sides to negotiate a settlement. In Southern Lebanon Unifil has largely failed because Israel, with superior arms, has not returned the area to Lebanese control.
Who decides where UN troops should be used?
The Security Council responds to a request by a member state for assistance, or, as in the case of Somalia, to an obvious humanitarian need.
Who draws up the rules of engagement?
Standing instructions to peace-keepers are to use force only in self-defence. The rules are rapidly evolving, however, as the UN is entangled in Bosnia and Somalia, where undisciplined forces are deliberately targeting them. Now the UN says force may be used if peace-keepers are prevented from carrying out a mission authorised by the Security Council, which is responsible for drawing up the rules of engagement.
Why has the number of commitments been rising?
The end of the Cold War has seen states wrenched apart by ethnic, religious and cultural strife. Adding to this are famine and oppression, which have produced 17 million refugees and 20 million displaced people worldwide.
Why is there no standing force?
The UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, called for a standing UN 'peace-enforcement unit' made up of 1,000-man well-armed contingents from member states, to be deployed on the Security Council's orders. The proposal has met a deafening silence, especially from the US, loath to relinquish its self-appointed role as world policeman to the UN or to have American forces commanded by anyone other than an American.
From which countries do UN troops come?
The prestige of joining a UN peace-keeping mission is such that 61 member countries out of 178 are contributing. The countries range from Algeria to Zimbabwe. For developing countries, which have been known to send troops without weapons, contributing a battalion can be a nice little earner, since each soldier gets paid a hard currency flat rate of dollars 15,000 a year. Developed countries, which send fully-equipped battalions, end up seriously out of pocket. Countries that regularly supply troops include the Scandinavians, Austria and Canada (which has contributed to every peace-keeping operation in the UN's history) Ireland, New Zealand, Ghana and Fiji.
What effect is this having on the UN budget?
The total UN budget is dollars 1.8bn (including peace-keeping) and contributions from member states are so far behind that the organisation will be out of cash by December. By the middle of July only 52 countries had paid their dues in full and the organisation was out dollars 1bn.
Who pays for the United Nations?
Dues are payable within 30 days of every new year and the countries that pay on time, some 15, include Australia, Canada, the Scandinavians, France, Ireland and the Netherlands. Those owing money to the regular and peace-keeping budgets, some of which are years behind in contributions, include the US, which owes the UN dollars 757m, Russia dollars 415m, Germany dollars 73m, France dollars 47m and South Africa dollars 70m. Britain, which has paid its regular contribution in full this year, owes dollars 424,000 for peace-keeping. .
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