Country Profile: Switzerland

Members of the Swiss Armed Forces have participated in UN peacekeeping operations for the most part as unarmed military observers. Over the past decades, Switzerland has contributed a low but steady number of uniformed specialists (e.g. experts in international humanitarian law or humanitarian de-mining) that are often in short supply and valued by the UN. In the early 1990s, medical units of the Swiss army deployed to Namibia (UNTAG) and the Western Sahara (MINURSO). Other specialist contributions to UN peacekeeping have included experts on humanitarian demining, small arms and ordinance disposal, security sector reform, as well as financial, administrative logistical and technical advisers. Yet unlike numerous other states, Switzerland did not make any specific pledges at the 2015 Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping. As of December 2015, 30 Swiss officers are serving as unarmed military observers, liaison officers, military advisers, or staff officers with the UN in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia (UNTSO, MONUSCO, UNMISS, MINUSMA, ASIFU MINUSMA, UNMOGIP, and MINURSO). In addition, members of the Swiss Armed Forces serve in humanitarian demining roles both in the field in Africa and in New York. Read more in our country profile by Andrea Baumann and Marco...

Country Profile: Senegal

Senegal has long-standing experience in participating in peacekeeping operations led by the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The Senegalese army first participated in a peacekeeping operation, as part of the Federation of Mali, in 1960, the same year the country gained independence from France. Then, Senegal deployed 600 men in the UN Operation in the Congo (ONUC). Since then, Senegal deployed personnel in 25  UN-led peacekeeping operations in Africa (Congo, Angola, Rwanda, Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Chad, Sudan and South Sudan), Americas (Haiti), Asia and the Pacific (Cambodia and Timor-Leste), Europe (Ex-Yugoslavia) and in the Middle-East (Egypt, Lebanon, Iran/Iraq, Iraq/Kuwait). The numerous peacekeeping operations deployed in Africa in the 21st century, the lack of capacity of many African countries to conduct peacekeeping, and Senegal’s new political leadership have been key factors in increasing its participation in international peacekeeping. Its most recent deployments have focused on MINUSCA (CAR), MINUSMA (Mali), MONUSCO (DRC), and UNAMID (Darfur), where President Wade was for a time a lead mediator.   Read more in our updated profile by Amadou Moctar...

Country Profile: France

Having been a large troop contributor to UN-led operations in the early 1990s, in the mid-1990s France underwent a policy shift to distance itself from UN missions. Through its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, France remained very active in shaping debates about UN peacekeeping but largely refrained from contributing to UN operations. In the 2000s, France started to return to UN peacekeeping in a select number of operations, notably in Côte d’Ivoire, Lebanon, and Chad, together with police contributions to missions in Kosovo and Haiti. But with the exception of Lebanon, those contributions did not last. The strengthening of UNIFIL in Lebanon in 2006 saw the largest French contribution to a UN operation since the mid-1990s. The French contingent was increased from 432 personnel in August to 1,531 personnel in September 2006, and up to 2,177 personnel in September 2008. With this deployment France once again became a top 20 UN troop contributing country. It is currently ranked 30th. Read more in our updated profile on France by Dr Thierry Tardy...

Country Profile: Czech Republic

Deployments to UN missions  have been limited to few military observers or experts due to the focus on NATO or EU operations. However, in the past two years, there has been a growing interest in returning to UN peacekeeping operations as the Czech Republic gradually withdraws its soldiers from the NATO’s ISAF in Afghanistan and it is thus able to deploy them elsewhere. The Czech Republic has not only stationed officers to UNDOF’s command structure in the Golan Heights but it has also deployed members of its special forces to MINUSMA in Mali. After the end of the deployment in Afghanistan, the Czech Republic will acquire additional trained staff, which can be utilized in UN missions in the future. At the World Leaders Summit on Peacekeeping, which took place on September 28, 2015, the Czech Republic pledged to contribute Special Forces for the MINUSMA, as well as indicated that it is ready to provide specialized police forces and medical care services. Read more in our updated profile on the Czech Republic by Jan Daniel and Markéta...

La professionnalisation du maintien de la paix des Nations Unies ou le travail de Sisyphe

The United Nations and its peacekeepers are more often mentioned for its failure, rather than its successes. However, as the author argues, it is important to remember who should be held responsible for these failures: Since the operations of the UN are based on a vision of security delivered collectively, the responsibility can only be collective, and that of both the financial contributors and the contributors of troops, police and military experts. Much still remains to be done for UN peace operations to become properly professionalized. The author suggest improvements to the quality of staff recruitment, training, and organizations of operational support. However, while the professionalization of peacekeeping is a long-term project, and can be described to be the likes of the labor of Sisyphus, particularly because of the number of actors involved – there is progress to be found.   Read the full article here...
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