12 Jul 2020

UN Peacekeeping Forces2 min read

Indian peacekeepers have been recognized for their strong contribution to building peace in conflict-affected South Sudan as well as for going above and beyond their duties to support local communities.

What is UN Peacekeeping?

  • UN Peacekeeping helps countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace
  • It is led by the Department of Peace Operations of UN
  • UN peacekeepers provide security and the political and peace building support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.
  • There are currently 13 UN peacekeeping operations deployed on three continents.
  • UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.
  • Peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements
  • Peacekeepers remain members of their respective armed forces and do not constitute an independent “UN army,” as the UN does not have such a force.
  • Such assistance comes in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development.

Principle of UN Peacekeeping

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

  • Consent of the parties
  • Impartiality
  • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

Source of power

The United Nations Charter gives the United Nations Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security. For this reason, the international community usually looks to the Security Council to authorize peacekeeping operations through Chapter VII authorizations


  • The financial resources of UN Peacekeeping operations are the collective responsibility of UN Member States.
  • According to the UN Charter, every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share for peacekeeping.
  • Decisions about the establishment, maintenance or expansion of peacekeeping operations are taken by the Security Council.

Role of UNSC in Peacekeeping

  • It is for the Security Council to determine when and where a UN peace operation should be deployed.
  • The Security Council responds to crises around the world on a case-by-case basis and it has a range of options at its disposal. It takes many different factors into account when considering the establishment of a new peace operation, including:
    • Whether there is a ceasefire in place and the parties have committed themselves to a peace process intended to reach a political settlement;
    • Whether a clear political goal exists and whether it can be reflected in the mandate;
    • Whether a precise mandate for a UN operation can be formulated;
    • Whether the safety and security of UN personnel can be reasonably ensured, including in particular whether reasonable guarantees can be obtained from the main parties or factions regarding the safety and security of UN personnel.
  • The Security Council establishes a peace operation by adopting a Security Council resolution. The resolution sets out that mission’s mandate and size.

India and UN Peacekeeping

  • India today is the largest contributor of troops to UNPKOs.
  • More than 200,000 Indian troops have served in 49 of the 71 UNPKOs deployed so far.
  • Current Missions of India are: (a) Lebanon (UNIFIL) (Since Dec 1998), (b) Congo (MONUSCO) (Since January 2005), (c) Sudan and South Sudan (UNMIS/UNMISS) (Since April 2005), (d) Golan Heights (UNDOF) (Since February 2006), (e) Ivory Coast (UNOCI) (Since April 2004), (f) Haiti (MINUSTAH) (Since December 1997), (g) Liberia (UNMIL) (Since April 2007)

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