|United Nations University - Work in Progress Newsletter - Volume 14, Number 3, 1995 (UNU, 1995, 12 pages)|
|Between peace-keeping and force - To fill the fatal gap...|
By Brian Urquhart
A Scholar in Residence at the Ford Foundation in New York, Sir Brian Urquhart was the second official recruited by the newly forming UN Secretariat in July 1945. Over the next four decades, he helped guide UN peace efforts that typically took one of two forms: enforcement by collective security under Chapter VII (as in Korea in 1950) or through the dispatch of a peace-keeping force (as in Sue!., the Congo or Cypress). Today's post-Cold War world, he believes, demands a new form of UN response, particularly a speedy one. In his keynote address to the Tokyo Symposium on New Dimensions of United Nations Peace-keeping Operations, from which the following excerpt is taken, he discussed the needs for such a force. - Editor
No activity of the United Nations has been so affected by the end of the Cold War and the transition to a still uncertain future as have UN peace-keeping operations.
Peace-keeping operations were not mentioned in the United Nations Charter and were, in many ways, the opposite of conflict control procedures outlined in Chapter VII. Peace-keeping, as was often pointed out, lay somewhere between Chapter VI (Peaceful Settlement of Disputes) and Chapter VII (Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace). Peace-keeping operations emerged during the early years of the UN as a completely new technique for conflict control - based on cooperation, the non-use of force and the voluntary provision of national contingents.
Peace-keeping was to some extent the product of the near-paralysis of the Security Council by Cold War tensions. Indeed, the first peace-keeping operation, the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) of the Suez crisis in 1956, was set up by the General Assembly after the Security Council had proved unable to act.
In practical terms, early peace-keeping operations had two main functions:
(1) filling the power vacuums and containing the conflicts which resulted from the withdrawal of the colonial powers (the Middle East, Kashmir, Cypress, the Congo, etc.); and
(2) keeping such regional conflicts out of Cold War relationships and thus preventing them from triggering a direct East-West confrontation.
Both of these objectives were well within the general task of maintaining international peace and security.