Fourth Committee Speeches & Interventions

Statement by Mr. Masood Khalid, Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations for the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34)(November 01, 2005)

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to congratulate you and the members of the Bureau on their election and I wish to assure you of our full support.

2. I would like to begin by associating myself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement by the Distinguished Representative of Morocco. I shall, however, like to take this opportunity to make some additional observations in my national capacity.

3. Pakistani troops have served 30 United Nations peacekeeping missions including some of the most difficult and dangerous ones. The role of our peacekeepers has often been pivotal. In West Irian our troops prevented the outbreak of hostilities between two member States of the United Nations. In Cambodia, robust action by our peacekeepers deterred spoilers and thus helped prevent the collapse of a delicate peace process. In Somalia, Pakistani peacekeepers delivered humanitarian assistance to a starving and terrorized population at the expense of their own lives. In Bosnia, our troops protected an ethnically-mixed civilian population against the onslaught of genocidal forces. And in Sierra Leone, Pakistani peacekeepers have succeeded where those before them - from our own immediate neighborhood - had failed.

4. Today, Pakistani peacekeepers form a part of the “thin blue lines” that protect the peace, provides security, bolsters stability and protect vulnerable populations in war-torn countries across the globe. Over 8,200 Pakistani troops are currently serving under the UN flag in nine peacekeeping missions. Pakistani military doctors in East Timor are providing medical assistance in a new-born country trying to stand on its own feet. In Haiti and Kosovo, Pakistani police units are helping to support local police forces in societies which had not long ago been ripped apart by civil strife. In Cote d’Ivoire our Army engineers are helping to build bridges – both physical and psychological - between divided communities. In Sierra Leone and Liberia, Pakistani troops have not only kept the peace in the most difficult and dangerous areas there are also building peace. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, places like Bunia, Bukavu and Gatumba, which had only recently become synonymous with ethnic hatred and brutality are calmer and safer today partly because of the presence there of Pakistani peacekeepers. To date, 84 Pakistani peacekeepers have paid the ultimate price for the cause of peace. Pakistan is proud of the performance of its peacekeepers who still continue to do excellent work, alongside others, under very difficult and trying conditions.

Mr. Chairman,

5. We have listened very closely to the statement made by Mr. Guehenno, yesterday, in particular, concerning allegations about sexual exploitation and abuse by MONUC personnel. We welcome the steps initiated by the Secretary-General to address this problem. Pakistan, for its part takes this matter very seriously. Those who are found guilty for committing such crimes must face the full force of law. We have an impeccable record in peacekeeping and we wish to maintain the highest standards of discipline. Any proven cases will be dealt with, as in the past, with the utmost severity. The criminal acts of a few individuals must not be allowed to bring discredit to those who have done so much to strengthen fragile peace, to restore hope, and save innocent lives in the DRC. However, this is a problem which is not limited to MONUC. It has existed in the past and involved peacekeepers and civilian personnel from many countries. It is also a problem which occurs in many standing armies. It needs to be viewed in this perspective and within in a broader, systemic, context. In requesting a report on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by the United Nations peacekeeping personnel, therefore, we hope that the Special Committee will recommend a more comprehensive and balanced approach to address the problem. My delegation will, in due course, also present its own proposals, including steps to strengthen discipline and improve the modalities and mechanisms for verification and prosecution of such crimes. The proposed solutions must, moreover, ensure both the maintenance of the highest standards of discipline and conduct as well as the operational effectiveness of the peacekeeping mission.

Mr. Chairman,

6. As Mr. Guehenno mentioned in his statement, the United Nations has seen an unprecedented increase in peacekeeping over the last year. During this period we have seen the newly mandated missions in Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Haiti and a significant expansion of the peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United Nations now has over 64,000 blue helmets deployed worldwide, an increase of over 13,000 since last year. This number, along with the additional of financial, administrative and logistical resources to support them, is expected to rise even further with the deployment of a new mission in Sudan and the possible expansion of existing missions. Pakistan, first drew attention to this issue in May, 2004 during its Presidency of the Security Council during which a public meeting was held on this issue. We remained concerned about the pressures the pressures this is placing on the United Nations system in generating the necessary resources required for peacekeeping operations on such a scale. In our view these challenges can be successfully addressed as long as there is the political will on the part of the Member States to do so. My delegation has, therefore, presented a draft resolution which we hope will help galvanize the necessary collective support from the UN Membership to effectively meet this critical challenge to UN peacekeeping.

7. Addressing the surge will also require on the part of the UN Secretariat a more efficient use of its existing resources along with better internal coordination and planning processes which are critical for the effective management and support of peacekeeping missions. At the same time we welcome some of the new initiatives which are being taken to improve military effectiveness and credibility of UN peacekeeping missions. These include the creation of tactical and force-level reserves in mission areas and the possibility of establishing strategic reserve forces. Equally important are effort aimed to create a standing police capacity as well as improving the rapid deployment of police forces with specialized skills. At the same time, there is a need to fill critical gaps in niche and enabling capacities which are essential for the support of peacekeepers in the field. The Special Committee must be give careful consideration to all these issues.

8. Recent experience in peacekeeping has also demonstrated the need to improve cooperation with regional arrangements and to support peacekeeping capacities in developing countries, particularly in Africa. As demands increase on UN peacekeeping, training is also becoming increasingly critical. It is very important to tap the experience of major troop contributors with considerable background in peacekeeping operations – especially the more complex ones. They should be encouraged and supported in providing a wide range of training opportunities to other countries, including the new and emerging TCCs.

Mr. Chairman,

9. As peacekeeping becomes more an increasingly complex task, a fundamental question which needs to be asked is: what is the objective of each particular peacekeeping mission? The concept of operation, mandate the integrated planning process and the implementation of each mission needs to be guided by the answer to that question. The mandate provided by the Security Council needs to be clear, appropriate, realistic, and achievable. At the same time, the peacekeeping mission needs to be provided with the necessary resources to implement that mandate fully, and the rules of engagement must be sufficiently robust and uniformly applied throughout the mission to ensure its credibility and effectiveness. Its non-security tasks ranging from assisting the political process, including DDR, security sector reform, institutional development, to social and economic support must be geared to meet the needs of the host country and its people. The implementation of the mission’s mandate has to be comprehensive aimed not just at keeping peace but also sustaining peace. No exit strategy or early termination must, as a rule, be contemplated which does not achieve this goal.

10. Pakistan has been a leading advocate of triangular cooperation between the troop contributing countries, Security Council and the Secretariat. We have called for enhancing consultations with the Security Council - not only in the drawing up of mandates, but also in their implementation, when considering a change in, or renewal or completion, or when there is a rapid deterioration of the situation on the ground. In this context, we continue to support the holding of private meeting of the Security Council and the TCCs - held under the resolution 1353 format. We would also urge the Security Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations to continue to involve troop contributing countries in its deliberations, especially those related to specific peacekeeping missions.

Mr. Chairman,

11. Pakistan remains committed to peacekeeping operations, not just as a contributor of troops but also as a host of one of the oldest peacekeeping operations in the form of United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). UNMOGIP continues to serve the vital purpose of peacekeeping and potentially of peace-building. As the diplomatic climate in South Asia improves, we feel that UNMOGIP can play a vital role in promoting confidence-building in the region. As in the case of other missions, UNMOGIP can also assist in the promotion of the peace process as well as the protection of human rights in Kashmir.

Mr. Chairman,

12. Pakistan has remained one of the oldest, largest, and most consistent participants in UN peacekeeping operations. When we speak in this Committee, we speak from the perspective of a major stakeholder with long-standing experience. Indeed, along with others, we have played a significant part in forging UN peacekeeping as an instrument to promote international peace and security. We want to see it serve, and serve better, the collective purposes of the United Nations and of the peoples whom we represent here.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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