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EAM’s Keynote address at launch of Group of Friends on UNSCR 2589: Accountability for Crimes against Peacekeepers



Thank you all for joining us today at the launch the Group of Friends on the UNSC Resolution 2589 on “Accountability for Crimes against UN Peacekeepers” as a part of our initiative on “Protecting the Protectors”.

  1. Let me begin by congratulating the delegations of Bangladesh, Egypt, France, Morocco and Nepal, the co-chairs of this Group alongside India, and other esteemed members of the Group, for conceptualizing and operationalizing the Group of Friends (GOF) to Promote Accountability for Crimes against Peacekeepers. I would also like to thank Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and other distinguished delegates for attending the launch of this Group.
  1. UN Peacekeeping today has become more challenging than ever before. Peace operations are also being conducted in an ambiguous and complex environment. Today’s peacekeeper is not mandated to keep the peace but to take on robust mandates in extremely hostile conflict zones. The involvement of armed groups, terrorists and transnational organized crime has adversely impacted their operations.
  1. In addition, disinformation campaigns about peacekeeping missions and their mandates, have also led to an increase of risks for peacekeepers. All these factors have seen an exponential increase in the number of crimes committed against peacekeepers in the recent years.
  1. The data shows that in the last 3 years alone, 68 peacekeepers belonging to 20 countries have lost lives for the cause of peace. 177 Indian peacekeepers, the largest by far from any TCC, have laid down their lives and made the supreme sacrifice in protecting the blue flag.   Yesterday of course, we saw the sad news coming out of Lebanon; and the casualties which the Irish have taken in that regard. Our prayers are with them and for the speedy recovery  of the Peacekeepers.
  1. As the largest troop and police contributing country in the Security Council, India had piloted Security Council Resolution 2589 during our Presidency in August last year. The Resolution calls for promoting accountability for the killing of, and all acts of violence against United Nations personnel serving in peacekeeping operations.
  1. I am happy to inform you that the resolution was co-sponsored by more than 80 Member States and unanimously adopted by the Council. It is, therefore, very befitting that this ‘Group of Friends’ being launched today under India’s ongoing Presidency of the UNSC, will seek to promote accountability in practical terms both within and outside the UNSC.
  1. This Group represents the political will of Member States, particularly of the troop and police contributing countries, to champion the implementation of the provisions of UNSCR 2589.
  1. Upholding accountability for crimes against UN peacekeepers is a multi-stakeholders’ task. It is also a fact that in some cases, the host States do not have the political will or the necessary capabilities to ensure such accountability when crimes are committed against Peacekeepers.
  1. It is important that Member States, peacekeeping mission commands, and the Secretariat insist on a timely investigative process and help host States by providing them necessary expertise, resources, and political encouragement to make the ‘rule of law institutions’ capable of promoting accountability and delivering justice.
  1. Technology can be a force multiplier in achieving these goals. Comprehensive databases and analytical tools for recording and assessing crimes against Peacekeepers will be key to addressing impunity. India has facilitated the launch of a database which will record all crimes against UN peacekeepers. I am glad to note that it will soon be ready for launch as well.
  1. Regular monitoring and follow up on accountability issues is a must. We appreciate the efforts taken by the SG (Secretary General) to follow up on investigations into crimes against Peacekeepers in his various reports, and we hope that this practice would continue. The Security Council also needs to keep up a periodic review of the implementation of Resolution 2589.
  1. Peacekeeping is one of the key tools available with the Security Council to maintain international peace and security, to practically stabilize conflict zones and move towards peace building.  Peacekeepers from across the world contribute to this endeavor.  They venture forth into hostile conflict zones to protect those who are unable to protect themselves.  As those member states, who send them in that cause, it is our solemn duty to ‘Protect the Protectors’. 
  1. India fully supports the objectives of this Group. We believe that this Group of Friends is rich and diverse in its composition. There are prominent TCCs, generous resource and technology contributors and Permanent Members of the Security Council. We are confident that by acting in concert, the Group will be successful in pursuing its objectives.

Thank you.