Peacekeeping operations and the United Nations



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The UN Peacekeeping Mission

The United Nations is an organization that is mandated to maintain peace and resolve conflict globally. Studies show that since its establishment in 1945, the UN has conducted more than 71 peacekeeping operations (Erendor 2017). Currently, there are sixteen peacekeeping operations in Africa and the Middle East at an estimated cost of more than the US $7billion (Sandler 2017). Additionally, the UN peacekeeping organizations have helped many impoverished people globally, helped many countries sign peacekeeping treaties, arbitrated several elections in many countries, and helped protect human and civil rights globally. This data indicates that the UN is a critical body globally in maintaining world peace. Peacekeeping refers to efforts to help countries at war or in conflict arrive at a peaceful resolution. Therefore, this paper focuses on the history, functions, strengths, and weaknesses of the UN as a peacekeeping organization.

History of the UN

The UN was established in 1945 with the sole purpose of maintaining world peace and security. According to (Erendor 2017), the UN helps maintain world peace and security majorly through peacekeeping, whose principles are defined mainly by the UN secretary-general and general assembly. The UN defines peacekeeping as the process of maintaining global peace and security in conflicted regions through military personnel but without the execution of power (Erendor 2017). The first peacekeeping mission of the UN was in 1948 in the Middle East, India, and Pakistan regarding their border conflict. The peacekeeping missions of the UN have grown from using the military to resolve conflicts, protect civilians, and incorporate all its essential elements. The peacekeeping activities of the UN are subdivided into four categories: peacebuilding, peace enforcement, monitoring missions, and traditional peacekeeping (Erendor 2017). Its operations involve mediating conflicts to find long-lasting solutions to maintaining peace, solving election conflicts, providing emergency relief services, protecting democracy, and preserving human rights.


The Impact of the UN’s peacekeeping missions.

The UN plays a critical role globally in ensuring that countries find long-lasting solutions to maintaining peace, resolving conflict, and protecting democracy. According to (Erendor 2017), the organization has participated in more than seventy-one peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and the African region. Its peacekeeping missions have impacted many countries as more than 124 countries contribute to these missions by providing military troops, police, civilian aid, and human rights staff. The significant impacts of the UN peacekeeping mission were during the Cold war and the second generation. After World War 2, the Cold War happened, with most superpowers struggling to maintain dominance. However, the struggle of superpowers to maintain dominance posed a significant challenge for the UN peacekeeping mission. Despite these challenges, the missions achieved significant success, such as the ceasefire between Arabs and Jews in 1948. 



As mentioned above, the UN’s primary goal is to maintain world peace and security through conflict resolution, maintaining democracy, and preserving human rights. There are many definitions and incidences of war and conflict throughout world history based on the course concepts. War can be interstate, civil, homogenous, total, or limited. The UN peacekeeping missions have previously helped bring back peace in areas affected by civil and interstate war. For instance, in 1999, the UN helped DRC declare a ceasefire after the torment of civil wars among its neighbors (Koulis 2017). The UN was initially mandated to oversee the peacekeeping mission; however, there was a change in responsibilities due to the extreme torture of civilians. The UN focused on protecting the rights of DRC civilians and restoring democracy in the war-torn country. Additionally, the organization has been involved in protecting civilians in Ivory Coast in 2004 and 2005. 

In addition, it is critical to examine how the UN peacekeeping missions help resolve conflict among conflicted nations and regions. Based on the course concepts, various theories help to provide a basis on which organizations and nations can help resolve conflict and maintain peace. The conflict management school of thought argues that it is crucial for leaders to find suitable ways for nations and conflicted parties to constructively and positively manage differences. For instance, in 1992, the UN sent troops to resolve the conflict between government forces and Mozambique Resistance forces, which helped establish democracy (Koulis 2017). On the other hand, the conflict resolution school of thought focuses on solving the primary causes of conflict and restoring relationships among the conflicted parties. The UN plays a critical role in helping nations find the cause of conflict and maintain peaceful relationships between states. For instance, the UN has helped several nations solve conflicts involving boundaries, such as in the Middle East countries.

Maintaining democracy among nations is a critical part of maintaining world peace. Based on the course concepts, there are different types of democracy, such as consensual and non-consensual democracy, and can form gradually, rapidly, or through the rapture. According to (Koulis 2017), the UN peacekeeping missions have helped various countries maintain peace even after establishing democracy and peaceful relationships among warring parties. Additionally, the UN is a massive proponent of upholding individuals’ human rights, especially in disputed nations. According to (Erendor 2017), the core focus of the UN peacekeeping missions is to uphold, maintain and protect human and civil rights. The UN incorporates human rights in its structure and has been involved in various missions where human rights have been violated, such as in African countries which previously experienced civil wars, especially in the 20th century. In most wars and conflicts, the waring parties tend to violate human rights, making it critical for third parties to intervene to prevent historical injustices of war. The UN is a significant international body that focuses on civil rights.

Strengths of the UN. Firstly, the UN is an international body that serves more countries than any other peacekeeping body. According to (Erendor 2017), the UN was formed by 50 countries after its predecessor, the League of Nations, failed in establishing world peace. Since then, the body has been in existence and solved many conflicts worldwide. Additionally, the organization collaborates with many countries globally to source funding and support. Research indicates that in 2016 the UN peacekeeping mission was able to deploy more than 100,000 troops to conflicted regions through the aid of several countries (Sandler 2017). Therefore, the UN can unite with other countries to maintain world peace in areas experiencing conflict. Also, the UN has a solid organizational structure that enables it to function and maintain world peace effectively. The UN consists of the Secretariat, the Security Council, and the General Assembly, which work harmoniously to maintain world peace. 

Challenges facing the UN. Despite its enormous successes and strengths, the UN faces various challenges to maintain global peace. Firstly, the UN faces political challenges in its quest to foster peace and solve conflicts. For instance, for the UN to solve pec eina given country, the host must consent. According to (Sarjoon & Yusoff 2019), if the host country does not consent and obstruct peacekeeping efforts, the peacekeepers may face serious safety risks. For instance, in 1967, the UN peacekeeping mission was forced to withdraw from Egypt after it withdrew consent for any peacekeeping mission. Therefore, the consent and support of the host country are critical in peacekeeping missions. In addition, the political stability of the host country is critical in ensuring the success of the UN peacekeeping missions. The UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia has significantly failed due to the collapse of its government, which endangers the lives of the UN staff. 

In addition, it faces military challenges which prevent the success of peacekeeping missions. The conduct of the military during peacekeeping missions dramatically affects the success of the UN. According to (Sarjoon & Yusoff 2019), peacekeepers should not use hostile forces as it intrudes on human and civil rights. The military involved in UN missions should not shoot at rebel forces and stop genocides or human rights violations. These dynamics make it difficult for the UN to establish peace in conflicted regions. For instance, the historical civil war of Rwanda resulted in the massacre of 800,000 civilians in the presence of the UN. Also, there is a lack of enough military and police personnel to facilitate its peacekeeping missions. The UN also faces humanitarian challenges in its peacekeeping missions, such as lack of basic needs to help refugees, lack of coordination in the distribution of relief, and military capture of UN relief assistance personnel. Studies indicate that since 1945, the UN has lost more than 3500 staff during peacekeeping missions (Sarjoon & Yusoff 2019). Therefore, the capture, torture, and killing of humanitarian UN staff make it difficult to distribute relief and support to the vulnerable populations in conflicted regions.

Recommendations. Some recommendations to help the UN be more effective in maintaining world peace include collaborations with other peacekeeping organizations to maintain world peace and solve conflicts. According to (Sarjoon & Yusoff 2019), there is a need to link the financial, military, and humanitarian aspects of all organizations to enhance peacekeeping efforts. Additionally, the UN should emphasize respecting and upholding international law during peacekeeping missions. For instance, the UN should establish an independent, fully trained peacekeeping force to enhance operations. Also, the UN should ensure that its missions have clear and achievable goals and integrated strategies that ensure sustainable global peace. There is also a need for the UN to establish political establish that ensures international cooperation and partnerships to ensure coherence among its humanitarian, military and political activities. 

In conclusion, the UN is a critical body that helps maintain world peace and solve conflicts. The UN helps to establish global peace through solving disputes, protecting human rights, providing humanitarian aid, and maintaining democracy. The UN has been involved in various peacekeeping missions in many countries, such as the Middle East and African countries. However, the body faces various challenges to maintain peace, such as political, humanitarian, and military challenges. There is a need to ensure that the organization has enough financial support, military personnel, and collaborations with other peacekeeping organizations to establish sustainable global peace. 









Erendor, M. E. (2017). Peacekeeping operations and the United Nations. Journal of Security Studies and Global Politics2(1), 61-67. 

Koulis, E. (2017). The Transformative Power of the United Nations Peacekeeping in the Protection of Civilians Part 2. 

Sandler, T. (2017). International peacekeeping operations: Burden sharing and effectiveness. Journal of Conflict Resolution61(9), 1875-1897. 

Sarjoon, A., & Yusoff, M. A. (2019). The United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Challenges. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies8(3), 202-202. 


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