Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Poor Countries Staff U.N. Peacekeeping Forces

This article [Haider Rizvi, "CHALLENGES 2005-2006: UN Blue Helmets Earn Applause - And Censure," Inter Press Service] illustrates a sort of global version of the traditional way in which the wealthy and privileged escape military service and largely dictate policy while sending the poor into harm's way at their direction.

Currently, U.N. peacekeeping troops are deployed in 17 countries around the world, with more than 80,000 personnel, including troops, police and civilian staff.

The number of operations has grown rapidly. During the first five years of the 1990s, there were more U.N. peacekeeping operations then in the previous 45 years.

"About 80 percent of the peacekeeping troops come from the poor countries because rich countries are unwilling to contribute any of their own," says Jim Paul, director of the Global Policy Forum, an independent group that closely observers U.N.-related developments.

Since its failure in Somalia in 1990, the U.N. has turned to more aggressive peacekeeping operations, which has contributed to an increase in troop casualties. The death toll for the U.N. peacekeepers increased from 64 in 2003 to 91 in 2004.

Harland declined to comment on why rich nations are reluctant to contribute their troops.

However, another diplomat, who asked that his name not be used, ventured that, "It's a dangerous business, so they just pay their bills. But we are pushing hard on them."


Post a Comment

<< Home