Anatomy of UN Missions: Where is Nepal?
Dr. BISHNU PATHAK scans UN missions and their backgrounds around the world, providing a context to UN's role in Nepal's own crisis.
The conflict of Uganda, Angola, Namibia, Sudan, Congo, etc. has been the bloodiest in the post-World War II history where about 5 million people died. Even today, an estimated 1,000 people a day are dying due to causes and consequence of the conflict that has reached a “make or break point” for the continuing humanitarian crisis. (see note 1)
The most violent conflicts of the twentieth century during ‘cold-war’ era were waged between the states, but in post-cold war, almost all the major conflicts around the world were fought within the states. Among these internal conflicts, only one-fifth of these are internationalized outside states. However, the frequency and intensity of the volatile internal conflicts are significantly intensifying in number around the world. (see note 2) Between 1989 and 1996, 95 of the 101 armed conflicts identified around the world were such internal confrontations. (see note 3 ) Describing the intensity of the violent conflicts around the world, Bishnu Raj Upreti writes: “In 1999 there were 40 armed conflicts being fought within the territories of 36 countries, up from 36 armed conflicts in 31 countries in 1998, and 37 in 32 countries in 1997.” (see note 4) Professor Peter Wallensteen of Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University stated that in 2004, there were 30 active armed conflicts, up by one from 2003. While seven of the conflicts from 2003 are no longer active, seven conflicts broke out - three with action taken by new rebel groups and four by earlier recorded actors. However, most of the government and armed groups often receive support from neighboring states rather than other rebel groups.
The armed conflicts have displaced millions of population. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are people who are forced to flee their homes unlike refugees, remain within their country. At the end of 2006, the world IDP population estimates 24.5 million in some 52 countries, where Africa has the largest population with almost half (48 %) in 21 countries. (see note 5) According to the Internally Displaced People Report 2006, the significant IDP populations are:
• Afghanistan: 132,000 IDPs occurred after the US and British forces initiated War on Terror in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 in response to the 9-11 attacks. These forces initially successfully removed the Taliban regime, but without success to capture Osama bin Laden and destroy al-Qaeda.
• Azerbaijan: 579,000-687,000 IDPs occurred due to the intervention of US forces.
• Burma (Myanmar): 500,000 IDPs occurred due to decade's long war between state and ethnic groups.
• Burundi: 100,000 IDPs occurred due to fighting between government, Tutsi minority and Hutu majority rebel groups in which 500,000 Hutu and moderate Tutsi died in well-designed genocide.
• Colombia: 1.8 to 3.8 million IDPs occurred due to the war between the government, FARC, AUC and other armed groups.
• Congo: 1.1 million IDPs occurred due to the armed conflict between government and the Mai-Mai militia, multiple opportunistic militias, sprang up, supplied by the arms traffickers particularly the US, Russia and China. The Mai-Mai was formed as civil defense against the eternal invaders (Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia), but went against the government similar to Bin Laden. Between 1998 and 2002, over 3.8 million people killed along with the majority of animals of that region.
• Cyprus: 210,000 IDPs occurred due to the inter-communal messes of 1964 and Turkish invasion 1974.
• Ethiopia: 100,000 to 280,000 IDPs occurred due to the Somali Civil War.
• Georgia: 222,000 to 241,000 IDPs occurred due to the ethnic Georgian population who fled Abkhazia after the civil war of 1991-93.
• India: 600,000 IDPS occurred due to Indian-administered Kashmir to anti-Hindu and anti-India insurgency as well as migration from Nepal due to People’s War.
• Iraq: 1.7 million occurred due to forced displacement during Saddam Hussein's rule, and skirmishing between the Multi-National Force and Iraqi insurgent groups.
• Lebanon: 216,000 to 800,000 IDPs occurred due to more than half-century long period of conflict.
• Liberia: 850,000 IDPs occurred due to the government and the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) under the leadership of the former president Charles Taylor. The civil war claimed the lives of more than 250,000 civilians.
• Rwanda: Undetermined IDPs occurred after the two Hutu presidents of Rwanda and the Hutu president of Burundi were killed (see note 6) in April 6, 1994 plane incident. Over the three months between April - July 1994, the Hutu-led military and Interahamwe militia groups killed 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates in the genocide.
• Somalia: 400,000 IDPs and 1.5 million refugees in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Yemen and beyond, due to civil war between the Islamic Courts Union – supported by Ethiopian and Eritrea rivals and Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) – backed by Ethiopia.
• Sudan: 5.3 million IDPs occurred due to civil/ethnic war in the South and Darfur in the west and in eastern Chad. (see note 7)
• Sri Lanka: 500,000 IDPs occurred due to the ethnic conflict between Sinhalese-led government (community forms the majority of the population) and separatist Tamil (ethnic majority in north and east of the island) or Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which is, know as Ceylon before 1972.
• Uganda: 1.2 to 1.7 million IDPs occurred due to the insurgency of the Lord's Army and Hutu vs. Tutsi.
• West Bank and Gaza: 200,000 to 500,000 IDPs occurred due to house destruction and land confiscation by the Israeli government. And so forth.
UN Missions in the world
Debates and discussions have taken up regarding the UN political and peacekeeping missions after UNMIN stepped into Nepal. There are comments and questions whether UNMIN will be able to harvest success. Will UNMIN be guiding the fate of the country for peace, security and development? What is the history of UN Missions? What are their successes or failures up to this point? Is the UN, with 192 member countries, a common platform for all? If yes and/or no, why? This paper is devoted to addressing these issues based on the information we were able to gather and analyze.
Did armed conflict decline in during-/post-cold war era?
The Human Security Report 2005 stated that the trends of numbers of wars, genocides and human rights violations/abuses have dramatically declined. In post-cold war era, the statistics says:
• a 40% drop in violent conflict (early 1990s)
• an 80% drop in the most deadly conflicts (1998 to 2001)
• a 70% drop in international crises (1981 to 2001)
• a 98% drop the extrajudicial killings (38,000 people were killed in 1950s, but the figure is at 600 in 2002)
• a net decrease in core human rights abuses (1994 to 2003)
If we minutely analyze the United Nations peacekeeping and political missions and their mobilization, the above-mentioned facts-and-figures confront one another. During-cold war era, there had been a lesser number of mobilizations of UN peacekeeping and political completed missions.
• Africa: On the course to prevent the intervention of the foreign troops and preserve the territory of the Congo, the UN Operation in the Congo (UNOC) was a mobilized peacekeeping mission from 1960 to June 1964. (see note 8) To enforce Truce UNAVEM I (Angola Verification Mission I), (see note 9) it was operated against the Angolan civil war in between 1989 to end of February 1991. Against Namibian War of Independence, UN Transition Assistance Group (TAC) was mobilized to supervise elections and transition to independence during 1989-90. (see note 10)
• Americas: To monitor the political situation caused by rival government in Dominican Republic, Mission of the Representative of the Secretary General in the Dominican Republic was mobilized during 1965-66. (see note 11) Similarly, UN Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA) was mobilized to monitor the truce in Nicaragua 1989–92. (see note 12)
• Asia: The UN Security Force (SF) was mobilized to monitor truce of transition of West from Dutch rule to Indonesian takeover in West New Guinea (see note 13) from 1962-63. Similarly, to enforce Afghanistan-Pakistan for mutual non-interference, UNGOMAP was operated during 1988-90. (see note 14)
• Middle East: During 1956 to 67, to supervise withdrawal of troops in the six-day war (Suez Crisis) between Egypt and Israel, UNEF-1 (UN Emergency Force I) (see note 15) was deployed. UNOGIL (Observation Group in Lebanon) was mobilized (see note 16) to prevent entry of troops and weapons in Lebanon during Lebanon Crisis in 1958. UNEF II was instilled to supervise the withdrawal of troops from Sinai after armed conflict (1973-79) between Egypt, Syria and Israel. UNIIMOG (Iran-Iraq Military Observation Group) (see note 17) was mobilized to supervise the Truce after the war (1989-91) between Iran and Iraq. UNYOM (Yemen Observation Mission) was rallied to disengage (see note 18) Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the Yemen Civil War (1962-64).
In the post-cold war era, the following points are evident of the increasing trend of the UN involvement in the violence, armed/deadly conflicts and genocide/politicide throughout the globe:
• Africa: UNAVEM II was mobilized (see note 19) during 1991-95 to enforce/monitor Truce during Angolan Civil War. UNAVEM III was operated 1995-97 to disarm the rebel forces and monitor Truce. During Mozambican Civil War in 1992-94, ONUMOZ (Operation in Mozambique) was operated to monitor Truce. (see note 20) In 1992-93 UN Operation in Somalia I (UNOSOM I) (see note 21) was initiated to enforce Truce as a UNITAF (Unified Task Force), which was replaced by UNOSOM II (see note 22) in 1993 March till the end of 1995 during Civil War II with the purpose to establish peace and humanitarian aid. UNOMIL (Observer Mission in Liberia) was instilled (see note 23) during Liberian Civil War I in 1993-97 to monitor Truce and election. Since 2003, UNMIL (Mission in Liberia) sent a force consisting of 3,000 civil, military and police to oversee and maintain Truce, train the security force and repatriate 850 thousand refugees. UNOMUR (Observation Mission Uganda-Rwanda) was operated (see note 24) during Rwanda-Uganda genocide, 1993-94, to enforce and monitor Truce in Rwanda and rebel groups in Uganda. UNAMIR (Assistance Mission for Rwanda) was deployed (see note 25) during Rwanda genocide, 1993-96 to monitor Truce and promote relief efforts. UNOMSIL (Observation Mission in Sierra Leone) was mobilized (see note 26) during 1998-99 to monitor Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation (DDR), which was extended until 2005 to disarm and stabilize peace. In Burundi, Hutu extremists conducted ethnic cleansing of Tutsi during 1972, 1988 and 1993. Tutsi officials murdered the first elected Hutu PM and conflict issues until 1996 then intensified. Genocidal incidences continued until 2006, known as Burundi Civil War. UNOB (Operation in Burundi) mobilized (see note 27) only after a long period of genocide during 2004–06.
• Americas: ONUSAL (Observer Mission in El Salvador) was mobilized during 1991–95 in the Civil War to enforce and monitor Truce. UNSMIH (Support Mission in Haiti) operated (see note 28) after the Coup and Military Rule in Haiti since 1993 until 1996 to overturn the Coup and stabilize peace. Again UNSMIH (Support Mission in Haiti) was mobilized (see note 29) to stabilize Haiti’s new democracy (modernize army and police) during 1996–97. UN Transition Mission in Haiti was deployed in 1997 to help stabilize peace. Again, from 1997 to 2000, UN Civilian Police Mission in Haiti operated to modernize the police. UN Verification Mission (MINUGUA) was deployed (see note 30) in Guatemala during the Civil War in 1997 to monitor Truce.
• Asia: UNAMIC (Advance Mission in Cambodia) operated (see note 31) during Vietnamese invasion and occupation of Cambodia (1991-1992) as a gateway for UNTAC Transitional Authority in Cambodia. UNTAC was deployed in 1992–93 to assist reorganization for monitoring Truce and Constituent Assembly Election. UN Observer Mission in Tajikistan (see note 32) was instilled in 1994-2002 during Tajikistan Civil War to monitor Truce. UNAMET (Mission in East Timor) was deployed (see note 33) after Indonesian invasion and occupation to oversee referendum on political relation to Indonesia in 1999. The follow up mission, UN Transitional Administration in East Timor, was operated from 1999-2002 to transit to independence. Again, UNMISET (Mission of Support in East Timor) was deployed from 2002-05 for ensuring security and stabilize the new independent State.
• Middle East: UNIKOM (Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission) was deployed in the Gulf War, (see note 34) 1991-2003, to enforce and monitor the Iraq Kuwait border.
• Europe: UNPROFOR (Protection Force) was operational zed during Yugoslav Wars (1992-95) to protect Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Macedonia. Again, UNCRO (Confidence Operation Mission) was deployed during Croatian War (see note 35) in 1994-96, to monitor Truce. During 1995-96 UNTAES (Transitional Authority in Eastern Slovenia, Baranja and Western Sirmium) in the Croatian was instilled to supervise integration of regions into Croatia. In 1998, UNPSG (Civilian Police Support Group) was deployed to monitor and train Croatian police. Further from 1995-99 UNDURINGDEP (preventive Deployment Force) as an aftermath of Yugoslav War to monitor the border between Albania and Macedonia. UNMIBH (Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina) was deployed (see note 36) during Bosnian War (1995-2002) to monitor human rights, and supply humanitarian aids.
Ongoing UN Missions in the world
• 1948: The first UN Peacekeeping Mission, UNTSO (Truce Supervision Organization), was founded to monitor various truces (see note 37)
• 1949: UNMOGIP (Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) during Indo-Pakistan War to monitor Cease Fire in Kashmir (see note 38)
• 1964: UNFICYP (Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus) on Cyprus dispute to prevent conflict between Greek, Turkish and Cypriots
o 1974: UNDOF (Disengagement Observer Force) to maintain truce between Syria and Israel at Golan Heights (see note 39) and agreed withdrawal of troops following the Yom Kippur War (see note 40)
• 1978: UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon) to supervise (see note 41) Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and help Lebanon government to maintain peace and security
• 1991: MINURSO (Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara) during Moroccan occupation in Western Sahara to implement Truce and help promote referendum
• 1993: UNOMIG (Observer Mission in Georgia) during Abkhazian war to enforce (see note 42) Truce between Georgia and Abkhaz separatists
• 1999: UNMIK (Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo) to exercise (see note 43) administrative and judicial justice in Kosovo
• 1999: MONUC (Organization Mission in Congo) to monitor Truce during Congo War II
• 2000: UNME (Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea) to enforce and monitor Truce in Ethiopian/Eritrean War (see note 44)
• 2003: UNMIL (Mission in Liberia) in Liberian Civil War II to oversee Cease Fire
• 2004: UN Mission to monitor Truce in Civil War in Cote d’ Ivoire
• 2004: UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti to monitor rebellion
• 2005: UNMIS (Mission in Sudan) to implement/monitor (see note 45) Comprehensive Peace Agreement, assist humanitarian aid and protect and promote human rights during (North/South) Civil War II
• 2006: UNMIT (Mission in Timor Lest) during East Timor Crisis to support government initiation to peace and stability, facilitate political dialogue, enhance culture of democratic governance and foster social cohesion
• 2007: UNAMID (African Union Mission in Darfur) during Darfur conflict to monitor Arms Trade and maintain Truce
There have been more than 70 peacekeeping missions after the founding of the UN, of which 19% were during the Cold War era and the rest 81% during the post Cold War period, but 28% of the latter continue as ongoing missions. The longest mission is 59 years ongoing, monitoring the Arab-Israeli (see note 46) truce agreements. During the Cold War era, there were only three missions in Africa whereas in the post Cold War period there has been 23 missions.
The highest number of UN peacekeeping missions in operation are in the former Yugoslavia (8 missions completed, one ongoing in Kosovo) with aim to resolve the Yugoslav conflict. (see note 47 ) Other key countries with UN peacekeeping operations include: Haiti (4 missions completed, 1 ongoing); Angola (4 missions completed); East Timor (3 missions completed, 1 ongoing); Sudan including Darfur (2 missions completed, 1 ongoing); Chad (1 mission completed, 1 ongoing); Congo (2 mission completed, 1 ongoing); Liberia (1 mission completed, 1 ongoing); Somalia (2 missions completed); Rwanda (2 missions completed); Sierra Leone (2 missions completed); and Cambodia (2 missions completed).
The former Yugoslavia is the only country where UN mission has been deployed in Europe. The most war-affected continent is Africa that consists of 40% armed conflict in the world. In most of the developed countries, the mind (knowledge and education) is prioritized, whereas money, muscle and mafia reign in conflicted regions, controlling the resources and identities of developing countries. Most of the conflicts during cold war period contributed to political/ideological aspects, while those in the post-cold war largely belong to economic, socio-cultural, regional and ethnic aspects. Prof. Wallensteen said, “Less overt support, involving, for example, financial and logistic assistance, is found much more frequently. This type of support was present in nearly three-quarters of the armed conflicts after the end of the Cold War.”
The facts and figures in Human Security Report 2005, which states that there is a decrease of violence, armed/deadly conflicts, wars and genocide/politicide throughout the globe in post-cold war era, does not comply with the information collected and analyzed through this report. Eminent peace and conflict researcher Professor Wallensteen stated that a total of 228 armed conflicts have been recorded after World War II of which 52 percent (118 conflicts) after post-Cold War era. The Encyclopedia Wikipedia said, "Some critics have questioned the relevance of this data noting that conflict and violence are still significant obstacles for human development, worldwide security and sustainable peace." Even UN Human Development Report 2005 agrees that the violent conflicts/wars in the past 15 years have annihilated a larger number of human lives. As the report particularly focuses to battle-related direct deaths, it disregards the concept of human security of war-driven malnutrition, disease, famine and hunger. Indeed, war-exacerbated malnutrition, disease, famine and hunger are far greater terrorizations to human security in compared to bombs and bullets. The report does not speak on conflict-induced displacement too. Ever-increasing deployment of UN Missions is itself evidence that the eruption of violent conflicts/wars have not been decreased, but turned to more socio-cultural violence in post-cold war. Therefore, there are doubts over the credibility of the Human Security Report 2005; is it not meant to encourage sustaining unipolar power indefinitely? The unipolarity of the global politics and power is a major factor contributing to more violence, armed/deadly conflicts and genocide/politicide.
In the 21st century, there bas been a debate on the success and failures of UN missions, where deployed in 57 countries until now. Quarter of the missions can be described as successful. However, some of the notable failures are mentioned below.
• In 1994, the Security Council refused to approve military action in Rwanda genocide; it resulted in killings of nearly one million people.
• As the MONUC partially succeeded to intervene in Congo War II, disarmed ex-combatants and carried out distribution of humanitarian aid, but it remains that the conflict claimed the lives of nearly 4 million of people during 1998-2002.
• While UN peacekeeping troops failed to hold election in Burundi, the African Union (AU) succeeded in maintaining peace there. It was the AU who received fruits of peace restoration in Eritrea and Ethiopia in Eritrean-Ethiopian War in compared to UN peacekeeping force. The UN peacekeeping troops succeeded neither to hold presidential elections on time nor disarm the combatants in Cote d’ Ivoire.
• The UN political Mission again failed as the US troops entered into Somalia, deployed as the peacekeeping mission, but compelled to return in 1995 without success. The UN also failed to deliver aid when local warlords seized the food from impoverished Somali.
• Despite Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701, UN peacekeeping mission failed to disarm the paramilitary groups – Fatah and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
• Israel delayed implementing Security Council resolutions calling for the dismantling of Jewish communities in the occupied territories.
o Iraq broke several Security Council resolutions and tried to ignore the UN economic sanctions before June 28, 1991. The mission to food for oil to Iraq also created a huge debate on corruption.
• UN could not control its peacekeeping missions in Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Sudan, etc. to combat the cycle of sexual abuse successfully.
o People across the world have accused the UN on inaction to Sudanese government in Darfur, ethnic cleansing in Tibet and Israel-Palestine socio-cultural/religion violence.
• UN failed to intervene with the US, UK and a few European troops occupation to Iraq. More surprising was that they mobilized their forces without permission of UN Security Council - even though much pressure was exhorted from these powers - intervention in Iraq still went ahead. After they occupied and destroyed Iraqi infrastructure and self-proclaimed success in the war, the UN Security Council was then pressured towards mobilization of a peacekeeping force in a civil conflict that is still unresolved.
• Despite the mobilization of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and International Security Force, the peacekeeping troops were unable to disarm the ex-combatants except some thousand child-soldiers. Notwithstanding, UN peacekeeping is eight-time cheaper than funding the US force.
• As the UN peacekeeping force failed to comply with peace agreements, the British troops along with huge numbers of Gorkhali (Nepali personnel recruited into Britain) intervened in Sierra Leon and partially succeeded.
Except full or partial success in Cambodia, East Timor, Mozambique, Liberia, Macedonia, etc. in 75 % cases the UN has failed to manage the conflict or restore peace, security and development in all politico-ideology and/or socio-cultural (civil) wars including genocide. Why does the UN fail to manage conflict around the world? Some of the principal reasons are:
• Political institution: The principal aims of the UN is to prevent war, to safeguard human rights, to provide a mechanism for international law, to promote social and economic progress, improve living standards and fight against diseases, however, they are less attentive toward economic, social and cultural issues in comparison to issues of politics.
• Very delayed deployment: UN peacekeeping and/or political missions mobilize(d) only when the situation becomes terrible or out of control. For example, there was no interest on Turkish-Kurdish conflict in the recent past. The UN only intervenes after extensive media coverage, rather than clear human costs (people’s sufferings, pains and grievances) and massive destruction of infrastructures and resources.
• Low-tone earshot: Conflict often occurs in less developed or developing countries, but there is less influence to hearings of them in UN machineries. The UN appears to prioritize attention on the right of life, liberty, security, dignity and freedom of western individuals, as they are the ones with the main controlling influence upon it.
• Visible action: The UN focuses on visible action such as peacekeeping operations rather than human rights causes, humanitarian assistance, diplomatic relations and so forth.
• Empirical model: In event of civil war and genocide in African countries, the AU is more successful than UN peacekeeping missions are. The UN often hesitates to mobilize local and cheaper human capitals available and physical resources and amenities, but instead follows an expensive emperor model.
• Identity crisis: In this century, armed conflict leads to focus on classes, castes/ethnicities, languages, religions and regions, but the UN policy-makers, planners, strategists and peacemakers/builders are from western (developed) countries. They sometimes appear to have either less, or in many cases it seems, no respect of socio-cultural relativisms or display little in-depth knowledge of the root-causes and issues surrounding occurring conflicts. In many cases, it intensifies crises.
• Protracted administration: The UN Security Council secretariat has complex and lengthy administration procedures/systems that often cause extensive delay towards any direct action in instances of serious human suffering.
• Lack of resources: Due to UN’s intergovernmental structure of member states and 15-member Security Council, the secretariat often lacks required resources to fully implement the mandate.
As the UN Security Council became ineffective to manage the genocide/socio-cultural conflicts, the UN has initiated deployment of the Special Representative of the Secretary General in conflict-prone areas since 2004, established Peace Building Commission in 2005 and Human Rights Council in 2006. However, the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for work for a better organized and more peaceful world. The UN Peacekeeping Force (blue helmets) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988. What is the truth? It is clear that the trend of violence, armed/deadly conflicts and genocide/politicize throughout the globe was the highest in this post-cold war period. What was behind the curtain when Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, when even large numbers of Americans themselves could not accept the legitimacy of the decision?
The UN Political Mission was deployed in Nepal after the Agreement of Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (AMMAA) was signed between the government and the Maoists on December 8, 2006 where Ian Martin, Special Personal Representative of the UN Secretary General, was witness of it. It was signed following the Comprehensive Peace Accord of November 21, 2006.
The preamble of the AMMAA consists of four provisions:
• to guarantee the fundamental rights of the Nepali people to take part in CA elections in a free and fair manner;
o to declare the beginning of a new chapter of peaceful democratic governance, ending the 11-year long armed conflict, to accomplish, through the CA, sovereignty for the Nepali people in the form of a progressive political outlet, a democratically restructured state, and social-economic-cultural transformation;
• to fully observe the terms of the bilateral agreement witnessed by the United Nations; and
• to seek UN assistance in monitoring the management of the arms and armies on both sides by UN civilian personnel by confining the Maoist Army (MA) combatants and their weapons within designated cantonments and monitoring the Nepal Army (NA) to ensure that it remains in its barracks and its weapons are not used.
UNMIN is working following the Security Council Resolution 1740 adopted in January 2007. So far, the UNMIN (Mission in Nepal) has fulfilled 82 percent of the positions required to accomplish the mandate, of which 63 percent belongs to international expatriates. Local human capitals are principally recruited for the bottom-levels such as peon, driver, assistants, and so forth. Maoists had demanded for UN facilitation and mediation for the talks and after the Popular (April 2006) Movement II there were five concepts:
• The grass roots people had high hopes for peace, security and development;
• The middle classes had expectations for jobs;
• The civil society organizations and individuals hoped for both high incentive jobs and/or award projects from UNMIN;
• The government and political parties anticipated to gain power, purse and prestige through installing ‘their personnel’ in key positions and influencing the mission;
• The international diplomatic missions who were not in favor of UN mission, later offered their resources to influence its decision-making process, etc.
The Maoists had proposed the UN mission’s term only for the period of six months, whereas the government proposed a period of one year. Extension of role and term of UNMIN has become talk of the town, as the mandate has not been accomplished in a year of its establishment. The agreement envisioned that government would develop and implement a detailed action plan for democratization of Nepal Army ensuring training on democratic norms and structures, human rights values and national inclusive character. Except storing the weapons into the iron containers, confining the ex-combatants into the cantonment and continuation second round of verification, the other measures have not been materialized yet.
As the CA could not be held in mid-June 2007, at the end of June again and then again on November 22, 2007 as planned, the one-year mandate of UNMIN is due to expire on January 22, 2008. Finally, it formally put forward both extension of tenure and expansion of mandate that focuses on peace process monitoring, security sector assistance (transformation/integration of Maoist ex-combatants to National Army) and promotion of public security service. However, if the UNMIN has strong desire to serve the people and nation, it can enhance the peace process if it could not receive expansion of its mandate, complying the previous duties and responsibilities. These all-new issues of peace, security and advisory support to integration of both armies fall into the criteria of the present mandate if they have the wish to support them. Along with the one-year tenure approaching to expire, UNMIN has been facing obstacles/difficulties or receiving criticisms from all corners. A few key factors here:
• PM concern: Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is not happy with the UNMIN as some of its activities are fueling to ethnic communities and Madhesi crossing their mandates. Similarly, he is also displeased with such communities as they shared their demands and grievances with the UNMIN. In some occasions, he detested to UNMIN as they delayed to pressure the ex-combatants when they came out from the cantonments.
• Power equation: The big neighbors, who present themselves to counter the dominance of USA - China and India - have not been affirmative from the beginning to the role of UNMIN because of their ‘interests’. USA is always behind the scenes pulling strings not to let synchronization and alliance between these two. Nepal is located in the best strategic point for USA to play its power and political games to them. The Best US Citizen Honor awarded to Dalai Lama has created a rift between the USA and China. There is no doubt that USA have filtered its Spies into UNMIN just as it penetrated the small UN Nuclear Inspection Team in Iraq to manipulate the report to lay foundation for the Iraq war II. As long as the political cyclone exits in Nepal, the longer the country remains a hegemonic playground for USA’s vested interests. As the USA contributes the one-third largest portion of the UN budget, will not the stakes of the donor affect the policies and actions of the UN? It is evident that the conflicts and wars are long in the countries where US-government has vested interests.
• Foreign land: India wanted to hold CA election on time and facilitate the recalling of UNMIN as soon possible as they have no doubt that there have been a lot of US spies in the UNMIN as expatriates. This may be the reasons behind the Indian government’s complaint with the UN agencies in Nepal after they found that four UN officials held clandestine meetings on Indian soil with armed groups - Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha Jay Krishna Goit, and the faction led by Jwala Singh from Nepal. (see note 49) As the UNMIN is playing a catalyst role to traditionally marginalized groups, India has fears as to whether such sensitivity shall spread on to their land too.
• Road Map: It has not been able to develop, through consultations with all the stakeholders, a road map of its policies and programs, despite huge human capitals and financial resources. Due to this, it is still recruiting staffs even at the point of expiring period. The astonishing fact is that it has advertised for unarmed safety and security personnel recently for one-year term.
• Recruitment: ‘Ghar kasari banaune bhanne kura dakchha karmi le matra bhanna sakchha’ (Skilled human resource is pertinent to build a perfect house). Some international staffs of UNMIN have never heard of Nepal, nor had ample knowledge and skills required for the job. Similarly, some of the national or local staffs hired have been taken from other UN agencies, which have very little academic degrees (14/15 class) and lack skills/knowledge. It seems as if muscle and mafia rather than mind clearly affect the recruitment. The unqualified or inferior complex international staffs fear to hire qualified, competent, dedicated and experienced local/national staffs.
• Civil Society Organizations/Individuals: Many of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) considered themselves stalwarts and covered the forefronts/headlines of media have subsequently downed after the entry of UNMIN. A very few CSOs have been lucky to be a partner to UNMIN or penetrate ‘own’ personnel into it. Huge sums of possible grants to CSOs turned to the UNMIN. Those who are deprived are burning with envy and rage to have their role marginalized. They have mere superficial relationship with UNMIN. Similarly, UNMIN also has close ties with a few selected CSOs, although it is bound to get cooperation from the broad civil society.
• Protocol Mapping: UNMIN’s failure strategy is that it has engaged in pleasing the topmost leadership only. The news of the meeting of UNMIN chief with the PM and/or the Party top brasses is almost everyday, but it is rare to find its meeting with other portfolio holders along the chain of command including foreign minister. Therefore, Ministers and other leaders of political parties are not happy with UNMIN to find their roles squeezed. People are realizing that UNMIN’s role, that is supposed to be impartial, is becoming far from it.
• Peoples’ perspective: Nepali people in general have a concept that UN is a half-part of US-government. Even Ban Ki-moon from South Korea succeeded to be the UN Secretary General due to the vested political interest of the US – government against the strong candidature of India. Similar to the outgoing Kofi Anan, Ban will never go against the yearning of US policy. Therefore, if the chief of the UN affiliates with the US power and politics, how can Nepali people consider that his one-section would be neutral, impartial, independent and free? Indeed, UK, Korea, Italy and Japan are the 4-pillor of US–government.
• Political process: Unlike many post-conflict countries where peace process is (was) being conducted on both – top-down as well as bottom-up
approaches, Nepal is initiating rare top-down approach to all people (class, caste/ethnicity, regional, social and cultural groups) including ex-combatants and young communist league (YCL) and have not started bottom-up approach even in a year of peace process. Nor have there been any politico-economic policies toward ex-combatants: an estimated two-thirds are residing outside cantonments in which they are leading the YCL. In many stances, it has been observed that YCLs are becoming engaged in extortion for their livelihoods, which are encouraging the conformists or fuelling a lot of pressure not to transcend and transform the conflict into peace. Why does UNMIN/UN not have its mandate to train/empower them in the political process, fundamentals of human rights, on international humanitarian measures, laws of war and the recently introduced international criminal court, constitutional as well as parliamentary supremacy?
• Maoist’s perspective: When there had been a hot debate and discussions were going on verification of ex-combatants between the Maoists and UNMIN, Maoist ideologue Dr. Baburam Bhattarai once said that the UNMIN should go back the following day if they formally opposed their works. Another Maoist negotiator Dev Gurung commented to the UNMIN that its performance is similar to the NGO work. Notwithstanding this comment, the Maoists have not accepted the NGOs believing that they are the representatives of foreign-imperialists. On donor-based as well as NGO (family) based politico-economy, Gurung commented, “No matter how these NGOs are constituted, they are working here for the benefit of donor communities.... Corruption will come under control only when the state is formed with people’s participation and when totalitarian regime is eradicated.” (see note 49)
• Security dimension: Socio-cultural violence has had erupted in Tarai (southern plains or Madhes) after UNMIN almost confined the Maoists arms and armies in the containers. The State is absent in more than two-thirds of the Tarai areas because of violence. The recent report submitted by UNMIN to the Security Council also stated that 70% of the Madhes areas have no public officials. There are three types of groups: violent, non-violent and criminal (almost thirty in total) active in Madhes. The focus of these groups range in their aims toward political; socio-cultural/regional and criminal action. Many of them are working in no lesser than the role of contras ‘counter-revolutionaries’ inviting comparisons of similarities to Nicaragua in Nepal. These groups also do not recognize or accept each-other’s existence/identity and violent incidents have occurred between them. Different factions have occurred in more than two-thirds of the Madhes areas in continuation of strikes. People are living with more insecurity, injustice and undignified situations and restrictions. Particularly hill and mountain-originated peoples (Pahade), civil servants and citizens have been victimized in Madhes. The hopes and expectations of Nepali people from Popular Movement II have been shattered even after the establishment of UNMIN.
• International recruitment: The new international expatriates are to be competent and be enough sensitivity on socio-cultural dimensions, religion sensitiveness and geo-political structure. Similarly, the UN must reform its age-old recruitment policies and should recruitment only 25% UN expatriates and 75% local human resources unlike to vice-versa. The regional forces African Union for instance has become more successful in the peace process in Africa in compared to very expensive UN peacekeeping forces.
• Training to new comers: The new expatriates are to be provided enough training on political situation, human rights, customary law, socio-cultural patterns and regional sensitiveness by concerned expertise not by UN officials or aphno manchhe (desired personnel) only. Until now, UNMIN has been providing training to needy ones by their own-targeted and desired aphno manchhe instead of experts.
• Local recruitment: People in general have the concept that UNMIN is prioritizing for their recruitment to conformists professional particularly, but also ensure the class, caste/ethnicity, region, culture and expertise. In some cases, positive discrimination to academia is also necessary to extract the right candidate in a particular issue.
• People-centered (bottom-up) approach: UNMIN/UN agencies should initiate the political (bottom-up and vice versa) process soon to integrate the divided parties, societies, regions and communities focusing on human rights, humanitarian measures, Geneva Conventions 1949, UN criminal court, democratic supremacy, merits-and-demerits of rights to self determination and so forth.
• Transcend to transform: To create a cultured and civilized home, the UNMIN/UN has to perform noble work, which affects and guides the community that in-turn redirects the society; enabling it to make the fortune of the state transcending and transforming the conflict into peace.
• Rule of game: Partnership integrates political parties, state mechanisms, communities and societies. It is an essential tool for community mediation. Competition disintegrates and divides. The Judiciary, bureaucratic mechanism and political system are prompting competitions. Therefore, the UNMIN/UN should think how to diminish competition and enhance partnership. However, for the post-conflict situation with transitional phase in Nepal, alliance, coalition and partnership are essential tools for all to build a new Nepal through reconciliation = Rehabilitation + Reculturation + Reintegration.
• Neighbor sensitivity: Nepal is sandwiched between India (who does not have veto power) and China (permanent member with veto power of the UN), our sensitivity is different, dependent upon time and actions. We have much anti-American and less anti-Indian sentiments; please let it be a precaution that the staffs be made aware enough, in terms of influence from these countries.
• Individual perspective: Affiliation with particular governments/parties/institutions/issues is not a serious matter of fact. Nevertheless, once the individual appointed in such intergovernmental UN organizations, s/he should treat to all equally despite of ideological deviations, geo-political divergences, regional disparities, socio-cultural diversities and personal differences.
• Strong network: UNMIN needs to build up strong networks with concerned actors and stakeholders, communities and institutions despite of fundamental differences and ideological deviations. If UNMIN wants to achieve success (not like UNTAC’s failure to hold election in 15% of Cambodian territory), it has to change its strategy by making its role more horizontal and extensive, than vertical.
• Transparency and governance: There is no enough knowledge on how much budget has been channeled by UNMIN in different issues in this period. There has been a discussion going on that UNMIN paid US $ 15,000 as a rent of a private helicopter, whereas UNDP paid US $ 10,000 for the same distance. Therefore, question of transparency and governance have become a grave concerns of all.
• Maintain protocol: A protocol mapping is necessary to all areas of UNMIN’s work, duties and responsibilities.
• People’s ownership: The UNMIN/UN shall try to establish Constitutional Education Program (CEP) coordinating all CSOs in pre-CA election and Constitution-making process similar to the South African approach. In the case of South Africa, the CEP had organized a total of 486 workshops, 466 meetings and 259 briefings. For this, UN had coordinated 717 grassroots organizations and 596 national based NGOs and civil society structures.
• Do no harm approach: The UNMIN should recognize the importance of impartiality and establish themselves as a “neutral party” without taking the sides of either negotiating party, class, region or caste/ethnicity. Besides, UNMIN/UN should ensure that all conflicting parties adhere to the ‘do no harm principle’, both at national and international levels, should any conflict erupts.
A peaceful world with full security is a daydream as long as competition on manufacturing, trading, trafficking and smuggling of arms/ammunitions flourishes in the globe; veto power of the 5-permanent members continuously apply pressure on the UN and holding to a unipolar world political arrangement. It seems clear that bi-polar or tripolar systems and restructuring of the UN is needed to guarantee a mode for 21st century inclusive democracy, federal structure governance and a full proportionate electoral system along with crystal clear definition of right to self-determination.
Dr. Bishnu Pathak is a student of conflict, peace and human rights and a writer of globally circulated book Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal. He is working at the Conflict Study Center (CS Center), can be reached at email: firstname.lastname@example.org. He highly acknowledges the support of his colleagues mainly Chitra Niraula, Ganga Puri and Joseph Bergson.
2. Pathak, Bishnu. 2006. Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal. Kathmandu: Bimipa Publication, page 1.
3. Harris, Peter and Reilly Ben. 1998. Democracy and Deep-Rooted Conflict: Options for Negotiators. Stockholm: IDEA, page 1.
4. Upreti, Bishnu Raj. 2002. Management of Social and Resource Conflict in Nepal: Realities and Alternatives. Delhi: Adroit Publishers, page ix.
6. both assassinated when their jet was shot down by missiles from the Ugandan army.
40. http://www.un.org/Depts/Dpko/dpko/co_mission/ undof.htm
46. Shortly after the war, the residents of East Jerusalem started to use as permanent residents of Israel. The majority of the Egyptians rejected Israeli citizenship, and most of them keep close ties with the West Bank, even though they were allowed to vote for municipal services. Similarly, the mostly Druze inhabitants of the Golan Heights were believed permanent residents under the Golan Heights Law of 1981. Even in Golan Heights, only few of them had accepted full Israeli citizenship considering themselves to be citizens of Syria (http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/arab_citizens_of_Israel)
48.Times of India of November 9, 207.
49. Himalayan Times of November 23, 2007.
Posted by Editor on December 27, 2007 12:44 PM