UN peacekeeping heads back India’s call for clear mandates for missions

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United Nations, June 2 (IANS) The world body’s two top peacekeeping officials have called for clearer and well-focused mandates from the Security Council for missions, agreeing with India’s repeated pleas.

“We need mandates that are more focused on the key priorities, especially in this tough and very dangerous environment,” Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said on Friday at a news conference here.

Concurring, Atul Khare, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Operations, said that as as a former peacekeeper he believed that “we have to discuss with the Security Council and with the member states to ensure that there is a proper mandating process so that the mandates are clear, focused and achievable.”

India has consistently complained about the Council mandates for peacekeeping operations lacking clarity or focus, which in turn puts peacekeepers at risk and makes it difficult for them to achieve the missions’ goals.

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As recently as last month, India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin told the Council that it was unrealistic to expect UN peacekeepers to effectively ensure protection of civilians in the absence of clear mandates.

India has also asked the Council to consult troop-contributors while framing the mandates as well as implementing them.

Lacroix said that the Council, the UN and the troop contributors have to “work again collectively to achieve mandates that are more clearly prioritised.”

“It is a responsibility for member states, particularly from the Security Council, but also the responsibility for us because first of all we have to make recommendations to the Security Council, but also once mandates are adopted particularly if they are refocused, then it is for us to make sure that mission will evolve accordingly,” he added.

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Both Khare and Lacroix thanked India for its contributions to the peacekeeping operations.

Thanking India, Lacroix said: “has been really one of the most outstanding supporters of peacekeeping in many different ways and I think troop contributing countries have a key role to play in working with us, but collectively, to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping.”

Khare said: “We are grateful to India not only for its contributions to peacekeeping but also being the first contributor to the trust fund established by the Secretary-General for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.”

India contributed $100,000 as soon as the fund was set up in 2016.

Khare, who has been leading the fight against sex abuse in peacekeeping operations, thanked India “for being one of the countries which have not had a case of sexual exploitation and abuse for a fairly long period of time” in UN missions.

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According to UN reports, there have been no allegations against Indians in the scandal-plagued peacekeeping operations since 2013.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])

–IANS

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