October 30, 2017
Fourth Committee Statement on Peacekeping Operations

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See

Seventy-Second Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Fourth Committee
Agenda Item 55: Comprehensive review of the whole question of
peacekeeping operations in all their aspects

New York, 30 October 2017

Mr. Chair,

The Holy See believes in the United Nations’ central role in the maintenance of international peace and security. UN peacekeeping operations are an indispensable instrument and have contributed much to the resolution of many armed conflicts both within and among states. This comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations in their various aspects is very timely because the United Nations is facing numerous challenges in its peacekeeping operations and new policies are being implemented to ensure that these operations reflect the ideals and principles of this Organization.

The Holy See continues to place strong emphasis on the protection of civilians as it is one of the crucial dimensions of peacekeeping.  Protecting the civilian population should be one of the central elements of peacekeeping mandates and it is often decisive for the success and legitimacy of UN peacekeeping operations. With regard to protecting civilians during armed conflict, a sure way to do so is the preventive strategy of arms control. The Holy See renews its call upon arms producers and States to limit strictly the manufacture, sale and gifting of horrendous weapons that are later used to terrorize civilian populations or destroy civilian infrastructures.

The Holy See recognizes the vital role that women can play in preventing the outbreak of war through mediation and preventive diplomacy, in reconciling, rehabilitating and rebuilding societies in post-war situations, and in avoiding relapses into armed conflicts. My Delegation stresses the importance of women’s full participation as active agents in peace and security and acknowledges the commendable contribution of the women of UN peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world.

My Delegation duly notes the new policies put in place to strengthen the rules that govern the conduct and discipline of personnel. The United Nations must continue to ensure that the prevention of sexual abuse against women and children is fully integrated into the planning of peacekeeping operations.

While bringing a peacekeeping mission to a close is often taken as a sign of “mission accomplished,” some post-conflict peace and stability situations remain too fragile for weak national authorities to govern. My Delegation trusts that such situations will always be carefully evaluated and considered when deciding to end peacekeeping missions.

Mr. Chair,

The United Nations is built on the foundation of partnership and therefore consultations between the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop contributing countries, regional bodies and host Nations remain instrumental to the success of mandate implementation. This relationship should be further strengthened through regular and genuine interactions, which foster trust and confidence, build consensus in the decision-making process, and result in well-prepared, well-organized and fully-sustained peacekeeping operations. We must unite and work together, as the UN Charter calls for, to spare our brothers and sisters and future generations from the scourges of war and armed conflict.

In light of the worsening security situation prevailing in many field missions, the safety and security of UN personnel should be considered a high priority. My Delegation shares the deep concern that arises from the fact that attacks on UN personnel are becoming increasingly common. There is need to continue efforts to raise awareness about the role of peacekeepers in conflict prevention and conflict resolution, as well as in the early phases of post-conflict peacebuilding. The United Nations must ensure that peacekeepers receive specific training for their mission and are adequately equipped to protect themselves from aggressors. Perpetrators of attacks against UN peacekeepers must be brought to justice in conformity with the provisions of international humanitarian law.

In closing, the Holy See pays special tribute to those peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of peace.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.