U.N. peacekeeping in deep financial crisis

14 Giu

U.N. peacekeeping operation are suffering of a deep financial crisis that avoid to send additional troops to manage civil wars in African countries like: Central Africa Republic or South Sudan. The news has been confirmed by Professor Katerina Coleman of British Columbia University in Canada, author of a new report published by the International Peace Institute: “The Political and Economy of UN Peacekeeping”. “The UN’s system for financing state contributions to peacekeeping operation is not keep pace with its growing peacekeeping ambitions and commitments” Professor Coleman said. UN financial crisis consequences are evident. The Security Concil in December 2013 approved a surge in peacekeeping troops for South Sudan. An additional 5,500 soldiers were to be mobilized to augment the 7,700 UN personnel already in the country. Six months later only 2,000 of those added forces have sent in South Sudan.

During this period South Sudan has been witness of several dramatic escalations: military, human rights violation, ethnic cleaning inside a dramatic humanitarian crisis and lack of political willing to respect peace and ceasefire agreements. On April 2014 Security Council has approved 12,000 soldiers for UN mission in CAR. This number is estimated necessary to stop Séléka Muslim militias and Anti Balakas Christian militias. Unlucky CAR peacekeeping mission extension will not take place until September 2014. In Central Africa Republic Christian militias has responsible of 700,000 Muslim refugees in neighbor countries and 180,000 Muslim victims according data publish by CAR diaspora in Uganda. Before the civil war Muslims represented the 15 per cent of total population, now 4 per cent. In order to full fill its obligations U.N. is thinking to utilize for South Sudan and CAR peacekeeping troops already deployed in other crisis like Darfur with the joy of Islamic militias ally of Khartoum regime.

UN financial crisis seem very deep and the principal donors from industrialized countries are willing to reduce peacekeeping intervention capacities. U.S. and U.E. are speaking about “financial constraints” linked to world recession that force to postdate the annual contribution. Japan seem more interested to finance its Army than UN peacekeeping mission. All major donors are late on payment or are thinking to reduce the contribution. U.S. has the highest assessment rate for the financing of peacekeeping operation at 28,4 per cent. U.E. and Japan pay a combined 40 per cent of the cost of peacekeeping operations. As all financial crisis the U.N. ones is not born yesterday. First signal of this financial crisis has been registered on 2005. At that time U.N has dramatically reduce peacekeeping operation costs in Africa that are 52 per cent of worldwide U.N. peacekeeping operations. The cost reduction has been obtained with the utilization of African troops, normally less expensive than West troops.

This decision has been supported by an intense West media campaign on Africa capacity to resolve its own crisis, taken as example AMISOM peacekeeping operation in Somalia transformed in a success story. Another way to reduce the cost was to engage mercenary companies. The experiment has been done in Somalia on 2010. After one year U.N. has not renewed the contract because the cost of these companies were superior than West troops utilization. The mercenary companies beneficiary of this financial experiment were linked to Rwandan dissident General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, leader of Rwandan party in exile Rwanda National Congress known by its links with Rwandan terrorist group FDLR with whom share the project to overthrow Kigali regime with the use of the force.

In all U.N. cost reduction plans has never review the balance between military personnel and support personnel. United Nation Peacekeeping official website reveals that on 97,438 staff members, 17,002 are civilians (17.5 per cent of total labor force) Of these support staff 5,245 are expatriates and 11,527 nationals. Expatriate staff annual average cost is $ 102,000 and national staff $ 15,000. Annual total costs are incredibles: $ 534.9 million for expatriate staff and $ 176.3 million for national staff.

The employment of African troops has been successful only in Somalia, where Burundi, Dijbouti, Kenya, Sierra Leon and Uganda military contingents are operating in full autonomy. In all other U.N. peacekeeping missions African troops are under West command and receive a treatment that remember the ones designated by English and French “colonial troops”. Mali and Central Africa Republic are the clearest examples. African countries involved in U.N. missions have mostly push by economic motivations, attract by financial incomes guarantee by U.N. Participating to AMISOM mission Uganda has modernize its Army (UPDF) with U.S. and U.E. funds. UDPF it’s now utilized in South Sudan for defend Ugandan and China oil interests. Political motivation of some countries like Rwanda are concentrated on the need of improve their international image but not to propose African solution to the Continent crisis. The role of don’t utilize neighbor countries with clear interests in the crisis has never been respected.

In DRC Tanzania and South Africa, both involved in combat operation on the behalf of MONUSCO, have huge interest on natural resources in east DRC. Same for South Sudan for the future Kenyan and Ethiopian contingents. Some country like Uganda and Burundi have well exploited their U.N. peacekeeping participation for strategic and political interests. Uganda is utilizing U.N. peacekeeping missions to infiltrate UPDF in all African countries considered strategic for President Museveni imperialist policy on Africa. Burundi is utilizing U.N. peacekeeping missions to offer jobs to former CNDD-FDD guerrillas that between 1993 and 2004 has been responsible of several war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide attempts. This “soldiers” are suppose to stop Somali terrorist or ethnic cleansing in CAR.

The utilization of African troops hid two racist factors. The first one concerning combat operations. The second one concerning the financial treatment. Normally African soldiers are utilized for combat operation on frontline meantime West soldiers are far away in safe areas to coordinate, assure logistic support, aerial surveillance and Intelligence. African soldiers are paid 69,7 per cent less that West ones. Same for Asiatic and Latin-Americans soldiers. Montly salary rate is $ 1,210. On May 5, 2014 Bolivian U.N. delegate argued on behalf of 77 developing countries thate the General Assembly must increase soldier salaries rate in line with the salaries received by West soldiers. U.N. General Secretary is thinking to increase the salary to $ 1,536. This will correspond to 61,6 per cent of West soldiers salary: $ 4,000. Even in insurance treatment in case of death of permanent invalidity there are huge differences, justify by the different live standard of each country.

An easy excuse to avoid to guarantee equal salary and insurance treatment for all peacekeeping employed. Some countries like Bolivia and Uganda are speaking about “colonial exploitation”. Mysteriously U.N. crisis doesn’t affect DRC peacekeeping mission MONUSCO well known for its incapacity. In 13 years MONUC before and now MONUSCO has received $ 1,4 billion per year in order to full fill its mandate to protect civilians and stabilize the country. DRC situation nowadays show a failure of the mission that pose heavy doubts on its cost-efficacy. Inside of U.N. peacekeeping financial crisis is coming China that is augmenting its troops and its financial engagement (6.64 per cent of total annual budget). The objective is obvious. Remplace gradually U.S. and U.E. leadership. Every day is increasing between African political analysts the doubts that U.N. peacekeeping mission are contributing to increase the duration of African crisis. The one in Darfur is reaching 20 yars. The one in DRC 18 years.


by Fulvio Beltrami
African Voices, Kampala, Uganda


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