|Tuesday, 27 October 2009 11:46|
Statement by Palitha T.B.Kohona
Ambassador , Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN
On the Agenda Item 33:Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in All their Aspects.
Sixty-Fourth Session of the General Assembly
27th October 2009
Allow me at the outset, to congratulate you on your election to this important Committee.
We also take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Under-Secretary General for the UN Department of Peacekeeping, Mr. Alain Le Roy, and, the Under Secretary- General for the Department of Field Support, Ms. Susana Malcorra, for their comprehensive Statements to this Committee.
My delegation associates itself with the statement made by Morocco on behalf of NAM.
Peacekeeping is one clear example where UN multilateralism can and have achieved success. Its achievement in laying the foundation for sustainable peace and stability in many conflict stricken regions of the world has made it the flagship activity of the UN. Thousands contribute to this cause. The unique and the complex nature of each mission underpins the importance of being strictly guided by the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter. The fundamental principles of sovereign equality, respect for each others’ territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-interference in matters within the clear domestic jurisdiction of States, enshrined in the UN Charter, must be the cornerstones of UN multilateralism. These principles also keep us all- big and small, developing and developed, together in delivering results, in the challenging business of peacekeeping.
The consent of the parties, especially the elected governments, and impartiality, neutrality, continue to be indispensable ground rules even in the context of today’s multidimensional and robust peacekeeping. The amount of political support that a Peacekeeping mission could harness from the stakeholders- the financial and material contributors and the human resource contributors, will largely depend on how these principles are put to practice. Further, it will determine the effectiveness, legitimacy and credibility of UN Peacekeeping. The UN remains a mechanism of its Member States.
It is also of paramount importance to have clear and achievable mandates when planning and designing Peacekeeping Missions. Setting practical benchmarks on achievements help monitor and readjust the responses required on the ground. UN Peacekeeping Missions should have exit-strategies, contingency plans and, they also need to be supported with matching human and material resources. Hence, we urge for more practical and integrated efforts at all levels - from decision making to management; from Headquarters to the Field. Rather than emergency reactions, there must be well considered advanced planning, including on required resources.
By improving the method of engagement between the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), the Secretariat and the Security Council, we can make a positive change in our approach to Peacekeeping. Regular engagement and interactions with TCCs can help the Security Council to benefit from the extensive ground level experience of the TCCs. In this regard, we are pleased to note the recent directives of the Security Council and the efforts taken by members of the Council, to enhance its interaction with the TCCs. We encourage the Security Council members to sustain this dialogue and hold discussions in a timely manner, so that the TCCs could assist the Council in their decisions on planning, designing and extending Peacekeeping mandates. We cannot over emphasize the importance of the Secretariat’s consultations with Member States and its reporting mechanisms. The effectiveness and transparency of the triangular cooperation among the Security Council, TCCs and the Secretariat, is essential to the ability of UN peacekeeping to deliver practical and effective results on the ground.
A self-evaluation of the implementation of past initiatives would be beneficial to effectively address new and emerging challenges. We have in the past, among others, engaged in discussions on robust peacekeeping operations, protection of civilian populations by peacekeeping missions, etc. Robust peacekeeping should not be taken as peace enforcement. Civilian protection mandates, where applicable, need to be carried out without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the host country to protect its own civilians. We take onboard the proposals on the new partnership agenda –The “New Horizons” non-paper, and the “Support Strategy”, presented by DPKO and DFS and welcome the decision of the DPKO and DFS to discuss this initiative further, in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping (C-34).
Sri Lanka is pleased to have been able to make a modest contribution troops to UN peacekeeping. We have contributed continuously to the Mission in Haiti. With our own success in defeating one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations and facilitating a large-scale humanitarian assistance operation, our military and police forces are now prepared to enhance their support for UN peacekeeping. We have, as a first step, pledged our support to strengthen the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Mission. With its hands-on experience in defeating terrorism at sea and countering other illegal maritime terrorist operations, the Sri Lanka Navy is also able to join hands with the UN peacekeepers to lend its expertise in maritime security. We make this offer at a time when Sri Lanka is getting ready to mark fifty-years of partnering UN Peacekeeping since its first contribution to the UN Mission in Congo in 1960. Peacekeeping operations have provided opportunities for personnel from different regions of the world to work together for the common goal of stabilizing situations, managing the humanitarian dimension and laying the foundation for sustainable peace, security and development. Sri Lanka now possesses a fully pledged training facility for peacekeepers. Sri Lanka remains committed to continue its support for UN Peacekeeping Operations which are a significant mechanism in maintaining international peace and security.
While looking at the positive side, let me briefly highlight few areas that need improvement, from the point of my delegation. We request better coordination between the Situation Center and the field especially in the event of emergencies, to ensure adequate and timely information sharing with the TCCs. Further, we wish to see the dissemination of information related to positive contributions by peacekeepers to their host communities, and believe that the UN peacekeeping website may be a good portal. Also, the delays in payments and the reimbursements for the services rendered by the TCCs remains a matter of serious concern. We also strongly believe that the peacekeeping management must be more representative of those who actually make troop contributions. Supplies for peacekeepers must be secured from the host countries or from the region.
Conduct and discipline of troops remain at the center of the credibility of any peacekeeping mission. We have proved our steadfast commitment to the policy of zero tolerance of breaches of the UN rules of conduct. We wish to underline the necessity of improving the preliminary OIOS investigations, in addition to complying with UN standards, to be in line with the standards and requirements of national legal procedures on investigations. This will enable Member States to continue and conclude investigations according to their national laws and bring any offenders to justice. Sri Lanka has taken the strictest disciplinary measures where its own peacekeepers have been found to be in breach of UN rules of conduct.
In conclusion Mr. Chairman, we express our gratitude to those peacekeeping personnel who serve in often difficult, complex and harsh conditions. We also pay our profound respect and tribute to those fallen blue helmets for making the supreme sacrifice while pursuing the noble goal of maintaining international peace and security.