NAM’s Principled Position on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

The Non-Aligned Movement is the major contributor to the maintenance of international peace and security under the auspices of the United Nations. Peacekeeping has become the flagship activity of the Organization, and in 2014 Non-Aligned Countries provided more than 87% of peacekeeping personnel in the field. Since the Cairo NAM Ministerial summit in 1994, the movement has stated its principle position regarding the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKOs). At the Algiers Ministerial conference, NAM commended the NAM Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, under the chairmanship of Morocco, in coordinating issues of common concern to the Movement in the field of peacekeeping.

The movement firmly believes that the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rests with the UN and that the role of regional arrangements, in that regard, should be in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter, and should not in any way substitute the role of the UN, or circumvent the full application of the guiding principles of UNPKOs. NAM’s principled position further states that the establishment of any peacekeeping operation or extension of mandate of existing operations should strictly observe the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and those principles that have evolved to govern such operations and have become basic principles thereof, namely the consent of the parties, the non use of force except in self defence and impartiality. At the same times, the movement also holds that the respect for the principles of sovereign equality, political independence, territorial integrity of all States and non-intervention in matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of States should be upheld.

NAM has further positioned itself against the use of UNKPOs as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict. The movement firmly believes that conflict management requires a coherent, well-planned, coordinated and comprehensive approach engaging the major political, social, economic and developmental instruments. The movement has further stressed that, due consideration should be given by the UN to the manner in which those efforts can be carried out from the early stage of UN engagement in post conflict situations and continue without interruption after the departure of UNPKOs, so as to ensure a smooth transition to lasting peace and security.

The Movement has called upon the entire membership of UN countries to participate in UNKPOs, and in particular has urged the developed nations to bear a greater burden of such operations. NAM has further emphasized that in the context of the comprehensive approach and the objective of a lasting peace and security, UN peacekeeping operations should be accompanied by a parallel and inclusive peace processes that are well planned, carefully designed, and more significantly supported by the consent and adherence of the parties concerned. NAM has also stressed that UN’s engagement in increasingly demanding and complex multidimensional peacekeeping operations should be consistent with the agreed principles, guidelines and terminology governing peacekeeping.

Abuses by U.N. peacekeepers have been a constant source of criticism for the organization, especially since the 1990s when major abuses were found to have occurred during peacekeeping operations undertaken during conflicts in the Balkans. Critics have long said the U.N. has failed to put in place protocols to prevent such widespread abuses. The movement has taken cognizance of this aspect and has stressed the importance of maintaining a policy of zero tolerance on all forms of misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping missions and emphasized that due process and national requirements must always be observed during investigations of misconduct. The movement has further stressed that the UN should ensure that steps are taken to restore the image and credibility of any UN peacekeeping mission, Troop Contributing Countries or UN peacekeeping personnel when allegations of misconduct are ultimately found to be unproven.

Non-Aligned Movement supports the notion that the major elements of a successful UN Peacekeeping Operations are: Clear mandates; Political, material and financial support; establishing Institutions that uphold the rule of law;An active civil society; A rejection of violence in favour of negotiation and compromise; and Working effectively with regional organizations.

The movement’s principled position is that UN peace operations should have international legitimacy derived from an international mandate and local legitimacy and consent.  Peacekeeping should be one instrument of an advancing conception of security that integrates interests and normative perspectives, as well.

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