Thursday, October 29, 2009

Robust peacekeeping should not be taken for peace enforcement - Kohona

Robust peacekeeping should not be taken for peace enforcement. Civilian protection mandates, where applicable, should be carried out without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the host country to protect its own civilians, stressed Dr. Palitha Kohona Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations during a UN General Assembly on the issue of United Nations’ efforts to keep pace with peacekeeping demands.

Sri Lanka pledged its support to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The Sri Lankan Navy, which had “hands on” experience in defeating terrorism at sea, would lend support to United Nations peacekeepers on matters of maritime security, he further stated.

Dr. Kohona said that peacekeeping was a clear example of United Nations successful multilateralism. The consensus of the parties, especially the elected Governments, impartiality, and neutrality remained indispensable ground rules, even in the context of today’s multidimensional and robust peacekeeping. The amount of political support that missions could harness from the stakeholders would largely depend on how those principles were put into practice, and could determine the effectiveness, legitimacy, and credibility of peacekeeping, he further said.

Dr. Palitha Kohona stated that clear and achievable mandates were paramount when planning and designing peacekeeping missions, and setting practical benchmarks on achievements helped to monitor and readjust the responses required on the ground. Missions required exit strategies, contingency plans, and human and material resources to support them. Additionally, the importance of the Secretariat’s consultations with Member States and its reporting mechanisms could not be overemphasized, he said.

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