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Failure to Protect and UN Responsibility: The Need for Institutional Mechanisms to Strengthen United Nations’ Accountability in Peacekeeping Contexts

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Source : Marco Dormino / ONU

By Nayana Das,

Ever since the onset of peacekeeping operations (PKOs) under the United Nations’ umbrella, several incidents have risen. During these incidents, several humanitarian missions have failed to act in accordance with their aim. For instance, in 1994, the Rwandan genocide occurred despite the presence of an active UN peacekeeping operation. Likewise, in 1995, UNPROFOR/UNPF failed to prevent the massacre of up to 6,000 persons in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war. In 2010, poor sanitation facilities at the UN’s MINUSTAH base in Meye caused the cholera epidemic1 that killed almost 8,000 people in Haiti. Moreover, as the number of PKOs has grown over the years, so have widespread accounts of inappropriate behavior and sexual exploitation by peacekeepers around the world2, notably in Haiti, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Cambodia, East Timor and the DRC.

Such failures undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as a whole. It is also a violation of the peacekeeping mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ principle, which provides the legal basis for peacekeeping operations. In this light, there is a need for accountability under two circumstances: (1) Failure to protect i.e. institutional accountability; and (2) Sexual exploitation and abuse i.e. criminal accountability. Read the rest of this entry »

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Destination ‘Sustainable World 2030’: ready, set, go !

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10th  plenary meeting Closing of the High-level plenary meeting of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda
10th plenary meeting Closing of the High-level plenary meeting of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda

By Ineke De Bisschop

New York, 25th of September 2015: the leaders of all 193 member states of the United Nations sign the agenda ‘Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development‘. This new development agenda and the successor of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets with the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty and inequality by 2030. Central pillars of the Agenda are the 5 P’s: people (living in dignity), planet (protecting the planet), prosperity (opportunities for personal development), peace (freedom from fear and violence) and partnership (a renewed global solidarity to leave no one behind). Read the rest of this entry »

Call for Journalists June 2015

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screen-shot-2014-03-02-at-2-26-28-pmAre you an aspiring writer or translator? Would you like to get more practice and publish your work in an established student journal? Are you interested in international news?

Join the team of  UNO You Know !?

Requirements for a writer:
– interest in international affairs and/or law
– availability to dedicate 10 hours per month to the blog

Please send a CV and a short cover letter accompanied by writing samples to blog@gimun.org before 30th June 2015. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis.

The Price of Freedom: Rebuilding the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Reprinted from GIMUN’s Chronicles

By Ashlee Pitts

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Photo credit: Flickr/ US Army Africa

Congolese soldiers patrol the outskirts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the threat of M23 resurfaces. The group has executed and displaced hundreds of people in their attempts to cause unrest and collapse the government. The DRC is in a fragile state in part due to its militaristic and violent history of armed conflicts. DR Congo has also initiated strikes against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) Hutu militants after the group failed to disarm by the deadline proposed by the Congolese government.

Within the past fifteen years, the country has undergone attempted coups by rebel groups, disruptively frequent shifts in legislation and government, and the assassination of the late former President Laurent Kabila. Civilians are left to suffer while the country continues to dramatically and unpredictably spiral out of control. Back-to-back armed conflicts, political turmoil and poor leadership are just a few of the many contributing factors that paint a much larger picture of the problems that exist within the country. International aid and the multiple United Nations peacekeeping missions have played a role in relieving the tension that has risen from the intense aftermath or ongoing conflicts. Given that all the parties involved agree to ceasefires and resort to negotiations, conflicts are much more likely to fissile. In this case, the government’s unwavering resistance for effective change inherently stunts progression.

Read the rest of this entry »

Land grabbing – NGOs giving the UN a push

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by Tuuli Orasmaa

pepsi
On 15th April, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a news brief celebrating a second multinational company’s, PepsiCo’s, decision to support international guidelines on sustainable land tenure governance. The first one, Coca-Cola Company, made the move in November 2013. But why is this news worth noting? First of all, this may be seen as an important step in the fight against the global “land grabbing” phenomenon and secondly, this shows the power civil society organizations may have in issues the United Nations is struggling with. Read the rest of this entry »

World Urban Forum 2014: Recipe for a better urban future

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by Lea Gleixner

25,000 meet in Medellín at UN-Habitat’s biennial conference

It is home to more than half of the world’s population, it is filled with human capacity, central to the big dream of millions, the cradle of new languages, music, art, the hope of many and likely to also be a traffic- and environmental nightmare: the city. Since the early 1970s, a great many of development strategies and programs had focused on rural development. Today both industrialized and developing countries are facing a challenge not quite unrelated, but definitely on the opposite side of the rural sphere – Urbanization.

From the April 5 – 11, around 25,000 experts from different disciplines and over 164 countries are gathered at the World Urban Forum in Medellín under this year’s conference theme “Urban equityin development – Cities for Life”. Read the rest of this entry »

No solutions to the machete in the Central African Republic

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by Simon Rousseau, translated by Charlotte Grey

Central African Republic support

The storm blowing across the Central African Republic is nothing new. Indeed, since its independence in 1960, the country has been in the grip of serious political and humanitarian crises which are hardly suitable conditions for sorting out the incredibly bad economy. The storm became a hurricane in March 2013 when Séléka rebels – predominantly Muslims – ousted President Bozizé, leading to a period of unprecedented violence. Christians, initially persecuted by militant ex-Séléka fighters, have seen Christian anti-balakas respond to the abuse with their own acts of violence. This has resulted in hostile attitudes towards predominantly Muslim Chadian Central Africans. Read the rest of this entry »