UN warns of danger and increase in deaths in missions in Africa

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, warned today of the danger of peace missions in Africa and regretted that the number of deaths from malicious acts has doubled in recent years.

In a briefing before the Security Council of the United Nations (UN), Lacroix indicated that attacks against peacekeeping forces using explosive artillery and improvised explosive devices persist in 2022 and are at levels as high as those recorded last year.

“Despite enormous efforts, the annual decrease in the number of our lost peacekeepers has been reversed. In 2021, the number of deaths from malicious acts has doubled compared to 2020, from 13 to 25. Unfortunately, this trend continues, with 21 deaths for malicious acts until August 26, 2022”, detailed the Under-Secretary-General.

According to the French diplomat, the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Mission for the Stabilization of Mali (Minusma) “remains the most dangerous peace mission”, but the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Mission for the Stabilization of the Central African Republic (Minusca) and the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) face a growing and sustained threat.

In the face of growing threats, an independent strategic review of UN operations responses was carried out and recommendations are being implemented, according to Lacroix.

“So far, we have made significant progress improving capabilities to counter improvised explosives in missions where this threat is evolving. And we will continue to take forward the recommendations of the review, but support from Member States is needed to fully address these recommendations.” he said, calling for the provision of means of expertise in base defense and exercise in high-threat areas.

In relation to sexual exploitation and abuse by members of UN peacekeeping missions, the Victim Support Trust Fund established a project in South Sudan to provide psychosocial, medical and legal support.

In this regard, the UN Secretariat will engage with Member States to discuss concrete commitments to resolve cases of recognition of paternity and alimony for victims.

“We are advancing in the development of a confidential mechanism to allow Member States easier access to information on allegations against their respective officials,” said the Under-Secretary-General.

Despite all the problems and challenges, the diplomat highlighted that UN peacekeepers remain on the front lines of conflicts, striving to prevent the spread and escalation of the “scourge of war” across borders.

“They protect civilians, support ceasefires, promote human rights and unite communities and countries. They face unprecedented risks, including targets for violent extremists. Challenges of this magnitude can only be overcome by working collectively to find political solutions to conflicts.” advocated before diplomatic missions to the UN.

Source: With Agencies

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