Pakistan calls for steps to ensure safety of UN peacekeepers

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UNITED NATIONS: Voicing concern over the increasing number of fatalities suffered by United Nations peacekeepers operating in hot spots around the world, Pakistan has underscored the need for ensuring not only their security but also the safety of the personnel in equal measure.

“While security will remain a challenge and will vary from mission to mission, the safety side of the coin can be addressed by adequately equipping peacekeepers with training and necessary equipment, and better health facilities on the ground,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said at a peacekeeping event co-hosted by Pakistan at UN Headquarters in New York.

It was the first meeting on triangular formula — training, capacity building, safety and security and performance — that comprised China, Egypt, Indonesia and Morocco.

The panellists at the event included under-sectaries-general of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support as well as high-level dignitaries visiting for the Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting.

Between 2014 and 2019, the Pakistani envoy said, 193 peacekeepers lost their lives due to deliberate attacks, 117 due to accidents, 231 as a result of illness and 69 were listed under other causes. It was the first meeting on triangular formula — training, capacity building, safety and security and performance — that included China, Egypt, Indonesia and Morocco

Ambassador Lodhi said it was important for the troop and police contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat to work together enabling better decision making related to the planning of peacekeeping missions.

“Being one of the key stakeholders in peacekeeping and ones with rich on-ground experience, it is imperative that the troop-contributing countries are able to voice their concern on issues relating to peacekeeping and, more importantly, their views are accorded the weight they deserve at critical stages of mandate formation and force generation, ” she said.

Pakistan is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping, with over five thousand troops serving in missions around the world.

Ambassador Lodhi also assured that Pakistan, as the co-chair of the Group of Troop and Police Contributing countries, would, in collaboration with other members, continue with efforts to generate new ideas and innovative solutions to challenges in modern peacekeeping.