UN flag no longer offers ‘natural protection to peacekeepers

The UN’s flag and blue helmets no longer offer “natural protection” to its peacekeeping forces, who should not shy from using force if necessary, a high-level United Nations report says. UN peacekeepers should be prepared to take offensive measures to eliminate threats, according to the report. It said that force was the only “language” understood by attackers. Almost 200 peacekeepers have been killed in the past five years. Missions in Africa are among the most dangerous.

This figure is more than during any other five-year period in history, and 2017 saw the highest number of peacekeeper fatalities through violent acts in over two decades, with 56 peacekeepers killed, the report says. Peacekeepers face armed groups, terrorists, organised crime, street gangs, criminal and political exploitation, and other threats, it said.

“Unfortunately, hostile forces do not understand a language other than force. To deter and repel attacks and to defeat attackers,” the report said, adding: “The United Nations needs to be strong and not fear to use force when necessary.” The report was called Improving Security of United Nations Peacekeepers: We need to change the way we are doing business.

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