Global Policy Forum

Analysis and Articles on Peacekeeping

The future of the UN in peacekeeping is at a crossroads. The release of the Brahimi report on UN peacekeeping was welcomed for its blunt assessment of the struggle of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. This page looks at the role of peacekeeping and its future, analyzing successes and failures and posts news on the process of peacekeeping.

GPF Perspectives l Articles

GPF Perspectives

Cora Weiss Interviewed by GPF’s Catherine Defontaine (December, 2011)

This is an interview, undertaken in December 2011, between Cora Weiss, president of the Hague Appeal for Peace and UN Representative of the International Peace Bureau, and Global Policy Associate Catherine Defontaine. Cora Weiss describes her role as a peace activist and her engagement against nuclear power and weapons. She explains the importance of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and argues for an increased participation of women at all levels. Cora Weiss stresses the importance of promoting a culture of peace through education and gives us her thoughts on the future of the peace movement. (Global Policy Forum)

Rolf Carriere and Mel Duncan from Nonviolent Peaceforce Interviewed by GPF's Catherine Defontaine (November, 2011)

This is an interview, undertaken in November 2011, between Nonviolent Peaceforce and Global Policy Forum associate Catherine Defontaine. Rolf Carriere and Mel Duncan introduce Nonviolent Peaceforce and its activities in five different regions. They explain the concept of “unarmed civilian peacekeeping,” which is a key notion promoted by their organization. In this interview, they discuss today’s increasing use of force to resolve situations of conflicts in the light of the humanitarian intervention in Libya and the R2P doctrine. (Global Policy Forum)

Jean-Marie Guéhenno Interviewed by GPF's Catherine Defontaine (October, 2011)

This is an interview, undertaken at the end of September 2011 between Global Policy Forum associate Catherine Defontaine and Jean-Marie Guéhenno, former Under-Secretary General of UN Peacekeeping Operations (2000-2008). He was the longest-serving head of that UN Department. During his tenure, peacekeeping personnel grew to 130,000 in 18 missions, the largest expansion of peacekeeping in UN history. Jean-Marie Guéhenno is currently professor at Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. In this interview, Jean-Marie Guéhenno discusses his experience at DPKO and the future of Peacekeeping operations. (Global Policy Forum)


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France and UN Plan Mali Peacekeeping Force (January 5, 2013)

France’s military offensive in Mali will likely come to an end in the coming weeks or months. The French government stated that it is determined to remove its forces from Northern Mali once the region is secure. France and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations are now debating what role to play in the long term stabilization of the country. The options range from a full-fledged peacekeeping mission, to a hybrid UN-African Union force, to division of labor between the UN, AU and French troops. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has urged the Security Council to consider the future consequences of UN peacekeeping missions in situations where “terrorist groups” are present. (Foreign Policy)

Problematic Peacekeeping in the DRC: From MONUC to MONUSCO (February 4, 2013)

The complex operation to contain the Congolese conflict is one of the largest and most expensive in the UHN history. Since 1999, the UN peacekeeping effort in the DRC has cost approximately $8.7 billion. Why have large-scale international efforts to end the violence in the DRC failed again and again? This analysis argues that neither the UN staff nor the Security Council attempted to design a strategy that addressed the local causes of the conflict. After ceasefires, peace building organisations placed precedence on creating a stable electoral process. However, in the DRC, elections increased instablility in a fracmented society which had not yet solved antagonisms. The Un mistakenly labeled the DRX a “post-conflict” environment. With the Security council and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations currently discussing future plans for Mali, the mistakes made in the DRC should be fresh in the minds of peace planners. (Think Africa Press)


A UN Emergency Peace Service? (May 14, 2012)

This openDemocracy article argues in favor of the need for a United Nations Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS.) Proponents of UNEPS claim that the UN’s current system of “humanitarian intervention” is insufficient under more demanding crises to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. UNEPS aims to design a permanent UN force ready for instant deployment upon authorization of the UN Security Council. Since peacekeeping forces often take many months to assemble and deploy, UNEPS could be a valuable tool in UN crisis response. However, if it were used as a quick-trigger heavily armed “humanitarian intervention” force, it could add to the nightmare of great power politics. (openDemocracy)

Western Powers and Russia Butt Heads Over Syria Monitoring Mission (April 20, 2012)

The UN Security Council remains split over Syria. Earlier in 2012 China and Russia vetoed a SC resolution supported by the other three permanent members, which urged Syrian President Bashir Al Assad to step down and secede power to a deputy, on pain of sanctions. The prospect of sanctions has reared its head again, and again it is forcing a rift amongst the P5.  France, the UK and the US argue that the 6 point peace plan pushed by special emissary Kofi Annan, which includes the introduction of UN Peacekeepers on the ground, should be enforced with the threat of financial sanctions and an arms embargo. Russia however is promoting an alternate resolution which would not threaten Syria with penalties if it failed to comply with the peace plan’s requirements.  (Foreign Policy


Haiti’s Renewal of MINUSTAH’s Mandate in Violation of the Human Rights of the Haitian People (October 3-13, 2011)

Endorsed by a range of NGOs, this report was submitted to the UN during the Twelfth Session of the Working Group on the UPR Human Rights Council. Because Haiti has never had an armed conflict to monitor or peace agreement to enforce, MINUSTAH’s Chapter VII mandate has never been warranted.  In addition, there is evidence that UN peacekeepers engaged in sexual exploitation and introduced cholera in Haiti. The UN and the Haitian government signed a standard Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) granting broad immunity to MINUSTAH for crimes committed in the country. Although the SOFA provides for the establishment of a Standing Claims Commission to ensure accountability, failure to create such a Commission has resulted in a blanket waiver of Haitians’ human rights. (United Nations)

Haiti Cholera Case Raises Questions about UN Accountability (December 1, 2011)

A group of Haitians has submitted a petition claiming that MINUSTAH acted negligently and recklessly by failing to provide redress after UN peacekeepers introduced cholera to the country, infecting over 450,000 people. This petition raises the possibility of enforcing a mandated, but rarely implemented, judicial procedure for civilians living in countries with UN missions. If the UN fails to establish a standing claims commission and pay compensation to the petitioners, they have threatened to bring a legal case in the US. However, by treaty the UN is immune from lawsuits. This petition has far-reaching implications. It may establish a new precedent of institutional accountability for knowledgeable wrongdoing. (World Politics Review)

Is Nepal Sending Accused Criminals to Serve in UN Peacekeeping Missions? (November 11, 2011)

A Nepalese peacekeeper charged with torture in Nepal has been removed from his post with UNMIL in Liberia. The prospect of an accused Nepalese rights abuser serving in a peacekeeping mission is highly problematic, but this is not the first time. Some have suggested that the government of Nepal may deploy such individuals overseas in an attempt to “protect” them from prosecution at home. The UN should have acted immediately to block deployment in order to quash impunity and uphold the rule of law. (Foreign Policy)

MINUSTAH, Keeping the Peace, or Conspiring Against It? (October 12, 2011)

The UN Security Council has extended MINUSTAH’s mandate for one year, despite widespread Haitian opposition protests calling for withdrawal of the seven-year-old force. Deepa Panchang’s Other Worlds paper enumerates MINUSTAH’s post-earthquake human rights abuses, contextualizing the force as part of a larger geopolitical strategy rather than a humanitarian mission. An unconstitutional Haitian government granted the permission for MINUSTAH’s presence after democratically-elected President Aristide was ousted in an internationally-backed coup. Occupying MINUSTAH troops have destabilized the country, engaging in rape and violent retaliations against peaceful protests, supporting fraudulent elections, and introducing a deadly cholera epidemic. (Women’s International Perspective)

US and Europe Fight Over Cuts in Peacekeeping (October 10, 2011)

Facing major financial crises at home, European governments are targeting UN peacekeeping missions for budget cuts, particularly missions supported by the US. While the Obama administration is seeking cuts elsewhere at the UN, US ambassador Susan Rice is backing a prominent contribution for missions in Liberia, Sudan, and Haiti.  British officials expressed concerned about the wisdom of maintaining large foreign peacekeeping missions in countries no longer at war or in need of foreign military assistance, and Britain’s ambassador Philip Parham affirmed that Haitians increasingly see MINUSTAH as an occupying force. However, the US has long had interests in Haiti’s fate, and MINUSTAH will remain robust. (Foreign Policy)

Peacekeeping: Taking Stock and Preparing for the Future (August 2011)

This concept note guided a Security Council debate on UN peacekeeping operations. It argues that peacekeeping is a partnership and that troop- and police-contributing countries should participate in Security Council decision-making to ensure achievable peacekeeping mandates. The peacekeeping conversation at the UN should include actors who supply the personnel in conflict zones. Also, the note questions the increasingly robust nature of peacekeeping operations with mandates that call for the use of deadly force to apply interventionist doctrines (like R2P). The UN should examine the need for consent of the parties, non-use of force except in self-defense, and impartiality. (UN Security Council)

Curbing Transnational Organized Crime (June 6, 2011)

This article discusses how organized crime can be an additional challenge for UN peacekeepers in post-conflict settings. Peacekeepers, who are frequently becoming peace builders, have to tackle the issues of organized crime as a by-product of their mission. In order for peacekeeping operations to be more effective in creating stability, operations should follow some of the efforts by the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes to manage transnational organized crime. (International Relations and Security Network)


GPF Exclusive Video Interview: Catherine Dumait-Harper on the Integration of Military and Humanitarian Activities in Conflict (September 2, 2010)

GPF Associate Sarah Kleinman interview Catherine Dumait-Harper, former UN Delegate for the international humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières, about the risks associated with "blurring the lines" between military and humanitarian activities and actors in conflict zones. Catherine discusses the need to keep military operations distinct from humanitarian activities because this integration has led to confusion, tension, and increased vulnerability for aid workers in the field. She also argues that by overlapping security and humanitarian roles, many international organizations-both military and civilian-have violated International Humanitarian Law.

Behind the "Blue Helmets"--A Look at UN Peacekeepers (July 4, 2010)

The UN has a mixed record of successes and failures from its 60 years of peacekeeping. 124,000 peacekeeping troops are currently deployed in 16 active peacekeeping missions around the world, most of which are in Africa.  This author describes the landscape of UN peacekeeping-how it has changed in recent years, and how it is perceived.

UN Says Still Trying to get Peacekeeping Right (June 22, 2010)

Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the "Brahimi Report" on peacekeeping, UN officials gathered to discuss what progress has been made in the past decade, and what areas still need improvement.  Officials highlighted the UN's mixed record and emphasized that much work is needed to make the organization more efficient, effective and credible in post-conflict environments.

Can the UN Respond to Pleas to Help Stop Violence in Kyrgyzstan? (June 21, 2010)

Numerous NGOs have called upon the UN to intervene to end political turmoil in Kyrgyzstan. However, the mandate and consequences of such an intervention are unclear. The UN Security Council will almost surely pass over the issue given the geopolitical interests at stake. China and Russia have historically opposed UN mobilization in their backyard and the U.S. is concerned about the security of its base at Manas. The UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution condemning human rights violations and calling for an investigation into alleged attacks, although Russia opposed the resolution feeling that it was politicized. Meanwhile, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appealed for $71 million in aid for refugees. (Eurasianet)

Ten-year Impact Study on Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325

In October 2000, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. The resolution was designed to recognize the impact that armed conflict has on women and children and reaffirmed the need for greater involvement of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace-building, and peacekeeping. This study was launched in June 2010, to assess the impact of Resolution 1325. The study found that there has been a significant increase in the representation and participation of women in politics; however, women's participation in formal peace negotiation is still below 10%.

Two Accused of Taking Bribes in UN Contract Deal with US Company (March 18, 2010)

The UN anti-corruption unit has accused Alexander Yakolev, an ex-UN official, of taking bribes from Armor Holding, a US private security company. Yakolev and his partner-in-crime, Ezio Testa, entered into a corrupt agreement that steered the lucrative UN contract to Armor Holding in return for personal payouts. Testa's position within UN peacekeeping contracts is well known; he acts as a key broker between multinational corporations and UN peacekeeping forces in need of clothing, food and other supplies. (Washington Post)

A Decade On, No Seats for Women at the Peace Table (April 27, 2010)

Ten years ago, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325; a measure designed to recognize "the intrinsic role of women in global peace and security." However, one decade on, a pitiful 19 out of 192 member states have developed national action plans to implement 1325 and its "sister" resolutions. Consequently, the number of women in decision-making positions is actually declining, women focused human rights issues are often neglected, and sexual violence against women in peacekeeping is seriously under-investigated.  (IPS)


Gabon's Green Ambition for Africa (March 21, 2010)

The President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, argues that climate change will result in twenty-three African countries entering into war in the next twenty years, and political instability in thirteen others. The President coherently draws links between environmental degradation and conflict, even arguing that UN peacekeepers may one day shed their current roles and instead "protect biodiversity and stop deforestation."(Guardian)

Evidence-Based Peacekeeping: Exploring the Epidemiology of Lethal Violence in Darfur (March 2010)

This working paper analyzes the nature and scale of violence in Darfur. Through rigorous and lengthy data collection, the paper demonstrates that UNAMID - the Sudanese UN peacekeeping force - have under-reported or missed up to 15% of violent incidents. Furthermore, this paper outlines how the nature of the violence in Darfur has changed recently. Data-collection oversights impact UNAMID's potential to keep peace in the region. The authors argue that a more stringent and standardized system of collecting peacekeeping date is necessary. (Harvard Humanitarian Institute)
There is a considerable gap between the UN recognizing the need to protect civilians in conflict and actually doing something about it. In particular, the UN insufficiently addresses sexual violence against women. Resolutions 1888 and 1820 were designed to tackle sexual violence, but experiences in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea Bissau prove that these resolutions have not provided a sufficient remedy.  (UN Chronicle)
The number of female police officers in UN peacekeeping missions around the world has doubled during the past five years to 833, or more than 6 percent of a force of 12,867. Women in peacekeeping are proving to be especially effective in Liberia. In this post-conflict country, women have an ever increasing role in UN peacekeeping operations because they bring a necessary and different set of social skills to a rugged macho domain. In Liberia, women bring calm to the streets and the barracks, "acting as public servants instead of invaders."  (New York Times)

There's a New Peace "Warrior" in Town (March 1, 2010)

A recent report, entitled "What Happened to Peacekeeping: the future of tradition," argues that peacekeeping has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Traditionally, peacekeeping forces were lightly armed with little room for initiative; however, the noughties have ushered in the new "peace warrior:" a better armed, combat enabled peacekeeper. The author argues this change should encourage Canadian troops to reenter UN peacekeeping operations.  (Globe and Mail)

UN Embraces Private Military Contractors (January 17, 2010)

The UN has reversed its stance on using private military contractors in peacekeeping missions.  The UN has commenced a contract with the UK-based "IDG Security Ltd." to protect its staff in Afghanistan, and the top UN security official, Gregory Starr, wants to expand this is to Pakistan.  However, many disagree with the move, arguing that the UN will not be able to hold private military contractors accountable for their actions.  (Foreign Policy)

From New York to the Field: A Dialogue on UN Peace Operations (January 2010)

Numerous areas of tension exist between UN peacekeeping missions and UN member states.  This paper argues that building a stronger relationship between Special Representatives of the Secretary General (SRSGs) who head the peacekeeping missions and the Security Council is vital to improve legitimacy, efficiency and impartiality of the missions.  The paper also address the need for a broader approach to creating mandates for peacekeeping missions: taking into account the voices of Troop and Police Contributing Countries.  (International Peace Institute)

Wanted: More Women to Keep the Peace (January 2010)

The number of women in peacekeeping missions continues to rise following the Security Council Resolution 1325. Women now constitute 8% of UN police and 50% of civilian staff in peacekeeping missions. It is argued that women play a vital role in peacekeeping and peacebuilding because they engage with topics of sexual violence better than men, and also provide role models for female victims of conflict. However, there is a long way to go before gender equality is reached in UN peacekeeping forces: only 2 out of 17 peacekeeping missions are run by women and a mere 4% of UN military experts are women. Reasons cited for these discrepancies are the rough conditions and that peacekeeping is perceived as a man's role. (UNAUSA World Bulletin)


Liberal Peace Transitions: A Rethink is Urgent (November 19, 2009)

It is widely believed in international organizations and academic circles that liberal peacebuilding and "statebuilding" - democratic reform associated with market liberalization - will provide for stability in post-conflict environments. But more often than not a peace dividend only emerges for political and economic elites, while the bulk of the population fails to see much benefit from trickledown economics and formal democracy. What generally begins as a humanitarian project often turns into an insidious form of coercion and infantilization, with the interests of the intervener trumping the local population's needs. (openDemocracy)

China's Expanding Role in Peacekeeping: Prospects and Policy Implications (November 2009)

China is now the fourteenth largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping missions, sending more troops than any other permanent member of the Security Council.  At a time when multilateral peacekeeping is severely overstretched, China's increasing involvement provides not only critically needed material assets but also perceived legitimacy. This policy paper by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute examines how these developments will affect the relationship between China, the UN and the African Union - three quarters of Chinese troops are deployed in Africa. (SIPRI)

Environmental Demands Grow For U.N. Peacekeeping Troops (August 11, 2009)

UN peacekeeping forces around the world are becoming increasingly involved in environmental activities that fall beyond their core assignment. Should the already overburdened peacekeepers be planting trees and digging wells when they often seem incapable of protecting the civilian population? According to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), those community-outreach projects are in fact critical, as they help bolster local support for the peacekeeping missions and keep the troops busy. (The New York Times)

China's Growing Role in UN Peacekeeping (April 17, 2009)

China will contribute over 2,000 peacekeepers and approximately US$ 8 Billion to UN peacekeeping in 2009. Yet, financially China only contributes 3 percent to the DPKO annual budget and 1.6 percent of its one million active soldiers. Other P5 members that contribute fewer troops than China, namely the US, are able to contribute far more peacekeepers but neglect to do so. A bigger Chinese engagement in peacekeeping could trigger the US and others to contribute more troops. (International Crisis Group)

Peacekeepers-for-Hire? Not So Fast, Critics Warn (March 30, 2009)

The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has over 100,000 personnel, making it the world's second-largest military force. Despite DPKO's substantial size, peacekeepers are often overstretched. Some analysts suggest that the privatization of peacekeeping missions is a viable solution for the lack of peacekeepers, but DPKO spokesperson Nick Birnback says that "the DPKO does not employ private sector, nor do we have any plans to do so." Furthermore, other analysts suggest that countries that contribute few troops, like the US, should rethink their policies. (Inter Press Service)

The Purposes of Peace Operations (March 9, 2009)

This report analyzes the history of peacekeeping and questions the motives behind different UN peacekeeping missions. The authors argue that many missions are politically motivated and serve the interests of the P5. The authors monitor the evolution and adaptation of peacekeeping operations in a post world war two world and claim in a post 9-11 era, the "ever-expanding purposes of peace operations is blurring the line between peacekeeping and war-fighting," for example in Afghanistan and Sudan. (Center on International Cooperation)

Peacekeeping without the Peace (February 12, 2009)

Almost 113,000 soldiers, police and civilians are deployed in UN peacekeeping missions worldwide, with an annual cost of USD$8 billion. This article shows that peacekeepers are often overstretched, that the Security Council misuses several missions for political proposes, and that in cases like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan there is no peace to keep - just like Rwanda and Srebrenica. (Guardian)

Update Report No. 2 UN Peacekeeping Operations (January 16, 2009)

France and the UK have started an initiative to overhaul UN peacekeeping. Because P5 members are reluctant to contribute troops, peacekeeping operations are financially and politically overstretched. By revising institutions and operations, Council members hope to create more effective peacekeeping. This report outlines the background of the initiative, solutions and dynamics in the Council. (Security Council Report)

Top Official Says UN Peacekeepers Are Overstretched (January 24, 2009)

Alain Le Roy, UN Under Secretary General for peacekeeping, discussed the challenges of peacekeeping with members of the Security Council. He contends that peacekeeping might be facing political and operational overstretch. With 113, 000 staff and 18 missions worldwide, UN peacekeepers are coping with complex conflicts, such as DRC, Darfur and Somalia. Not only are these conflicts highly politicized, due to diverse interests and the lack of clear mandates, but Le Roy also wonders whether peacekeeping has exceeded its capabilities. (Mail & Guardian)

UN Peacekeeping Faces Crisis as Funds, Troops Dry Up (December 7, 2008)

UN peacekeeping is heading for a crisis because it lacks troops, financial contributions and because the Security Council does not act effectively. It took the Council three months to approve a reinforcement of 3,000 peacekeepers for MONUC, the UN mission in Congo. Moreover, the US and the UK, both members of the council, have failed to send more troops to areas that are not strategically vital for them and instead deploy forces to countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. (Reuters)

World Map on Crisis Prevention and Peace Operations 2008 (September 2008)

This map gives an overview of the military, police and civilian personnel in ongoing peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations by the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization for Security and co-Operation in Europe and other international and regional organizations. (Center for International Peace Operations)

Is Task-Sharing the Answer to UN Peacekeeping Problems? (July 31, 2008)

This essay argues that task-sharing could be a solution to UN peacekeeping missions' limited financial and human resources. Using regional organizations, such as the Organization of American States, as partners in peacekeeping could lighten the UN's financial burden and make missions more effective by using local knowledge and resources. However, the article warns that the UN must increase oversight and monitoring efforts to make sure these regional partners act legally and with legitimacy. (e-International Relations)

The Strategic Context: Peacekeeping in Crisis, 2006-2008 (July 22, 2008)

According to this Center on International Cooperation report, the UN has struggled with a series of crises in its peacekeeping operations because it has not been able to effectively utilize military, civilian, and financial resources. Some governments act in ways that inhibit the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. Burundi, for example, demanded withdrawal of peacekeeping forces ahead of schedule. Also, the large number of active peacekeepers – more than 100,000 in 2008 - places a big burden on the UN.

Deadly Allure of African Peacekeeping (July 6, 2008)

Developed countries invest millions of dollars in peacekeeping forces for African countries, but fail to provide sufficient funds for education, health care and agriculture. Moreover, using military troops to support peace reinforces and legitimizes the idea that force is the only means to attain peace and stability. (Black Star News)

China's Presence Increasingly Important in Cooling the World's Hot Spots (June 20, 2008)

Most P5 countries (US, France, UK, Russia) limit the number of their troops deployed to United Nations peacekeeping missions. China, by contrast, contributes personnel to a number of missions. China is the 13th largest contributor to UN peacekeeping missions, having deployed about 7,500 peacekeepers worldwide. However, most of China's peacekeepers are non-military personnel, serving as military observers, advisors and liaisons. (US-China Today)

Peacekeeping Grows Yet International Support Uneven – UN Official (March 11, 2008)

UN Member states have not adequately supported the increase in UN peacekeeping operations, says Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping. Guéhenno notes that progress in conflict areas such as Congo, Liberia and Timor Leste will be lost without more troops, logistics and technical support from UN members. Guéhenno indicates that the propensity of the Security Council to mandate complex peacekeeping operations without pledging material support undermines the credibility of the United Nations. The UN currently manages 20 operations with over 130,000 peacekeeping personnel. (UN News)

Annual Review of Global Peace Operations 2008: Briefing Paper (March 2008)

UN peacekeeping operations face severe logistical and operational challenges, according to the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. Despite an "overstretch" in peacekeeping resources, Security Council member states continue to approve complex missions without adequate financial or material support. The article also illustrates that the US and UK prefer to deploy troops in the multilateral operations of NATO rather than in UN peacekeeping missions.

UN Finds Fraud, Mismanagement in Peacekeeping (December 18, 2007)

In 1994 the UN created the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to investigate internal affairs. But Secretary General Ban Ki-moon created another UN task force that discovered a pattern of corruption and mismanagement. The force found UN officials had been bribed with contracts for fuel, food and construction, among other materials, especially in Congo and Haiti. OIOS hasen't been successful in holding corrupt officials accountable, therefore tainting the UN's reputation. (Washington Post)

Ethiopia Bogged Down in Somalia (November 27, 2007)

Somalians want Ethiopian troops out of the country, but Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi claims it can't withdraw its troops because they act as a substitute for the limited peacekeepers. Due to growing instability, the UN shows uncertainty about taking over the peacekeeping mission in the country. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon called the Somali situation "too dangerous," because Somalia hasn't had an official government for more than a decade. (BBC)

First Officers from UN Specialized Police Unit Deploy for Chad to Start Key Training Role (November 21, 2007)

The UN in cooperation with the African Union and the EU started training a specialized Chadian police unit, to provide safety to those affected by the regional conflicts. Officials from the UN Standing Police Capacity (SPC) and the UN Police (UNPOL) will arrive to support the UN peacekeeping mission in Chad and CAR (MINURCAT). The new Chadian police will also assist the UN-AU hybrid force in Darfur to stabilize the whole region. (UN News)

UN's Political Department to Expand Its Preventive Diplomacy Efforts (November 7, 2007)

Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon addressed the Fifth Committee on the expansion of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). The DPA's diplomatic role involves conflict prevention and resolution. He claimed that the extra US$21 million planned for the DPA's expansion represents the UN's "smartest investment," because it would diminish peacekeeping and post-conflict costs. The Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe during a briefing, proposed that the expansion should include an increase of employees, department re-organization and the establishment of more regional offices. (UN News)

UN Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia Not Realistic or Viable, Says Ban Ki-moon (November 12, 2007)

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recognized that the situation in Somalia remains too violent and unstable to deploy a UN peacekeeping mission. Somalia hasn't had a "functioning national government" since 1991, and its people face suffering and displacement. The United Nations started planning for a mission in cooperation with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The UN also urged Ethiopia, Somalia's neighbor to withdraw troops from the country. Ban insists on a dialogue between Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and opposition groups, in order to end hostilities and create a foundation for stability. (UN News)

UN Security Council Extends Peacekeepers Mandate in Western Sahara, Urges Negotiations (November 1, 2007)

Since the 1991 UN-negotiated cease-fire in Western Sahara, the Moroccan government and Polisario Front (PF) rebels have held two rounds of peace talks without reaching any agreement. Morocco only agrees to give the Saharawi people limited autonomy. But, the PF rebels want independence, or at least greater autonomy. The UN Security Council extended its peacekeeping force in Western Sahara until April 2008, and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asked for greater productive negotiations. Inside the Council, South Africa defends the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people, while the US and France support the Moroccan government. (Associated Press)

The Evolution of UN Peacekeeping (1): Hybrid Missions (November 2007)

This Friedrich Ebert Stiftung factsheet gives an overview of hybrid peacekeeping missions from 1948 to 2007. The report focuses on the combined missions of the United Nations and the African Union in Darfur (UNAMID), which is the largest and most expensive mission in UN peacekeeping history with a projected cost of US$ 2.6 billion in its first year. The authors stress that UNAMID's success depends on several factors like the willingness of countries to contribute troops and the political situation in Sudan.

UN: Security Council's Troop Plan in Chad/CAR Risks Failing Many (September 27, 2007)

Human Rights Watch calls UN attention to the unprotected people living in Chad and Central African Republic. The deployment of the UN peacekeeping troops (MINURCAT), focus mainly on refugee camps and large internally displaced people sites, without considering the suffering of civilians from violence in their home communities. Also, the EU peacekeeping force and MINURCAT should work with local governments to stop local abuse against civilians.

Will The Failed Abuja Diplomacy Be Repeated in Libya? (September 26, 2007)

The author argues that "coercive diplomacy" does not work, and that the peace talks in Libya on October 27 will not succeed without an established common position among Darfur Rebel Movements. The UN Security Council Resolution on Darfur will remain ineffective if the Sudanese government continues its military operations. (Sudan Tribune)

UNMIL Gets Yearlong Greenlight (September 24, 2007)

The UN Security Council expanded its mission in Liberia, UNMIL, with a mandate that lasts until September 30, 2008. Although Liberia has greatly improved after fourteen years of civil war, the country still faces the challenges of post-conflict transitions. Even though the resolution 1777 (2007) prolongs UN assistance for one more year, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has recommended a gradual reduction of the troops, avoiding the risk of instability. (Analyst-Monrovia)

UN Told It Must Do Better in Conflict Prevention (September 24, 2007)

During a UN Security Council meeting in August 2007, nations agreed on increasing conflict prevention in Africa. In spite of all the money spent on peacekeeping operations in African countries, the Council proposed to change its "approach and working methods," resulting in an emphasis on preventing conflicts. Better coordination among the UN and regional groups, such as the African Union, would help complement UN efforts to help the region. (Final Call)

UN Peacekeepers Cracking Down on Violence in Haiti (September 17, 2007)

UN Forces crackdown on armed groups loyal to former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide as violence rates fall in Haiti. But many Haitians denounce the heavy-handed approach and want the UN to create jobs and development in the country. Support for the UN peacekeeping force diminishes as residents claim they suffer, but Haitian President Rene Preval relies on international support. (Voice of America)

UN Security Council Gives Green Light to New Deployment in Chad and Central African Republic (August 27, 2007)

The UN Security Council, backed by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, approved a joint EU-UN force to operate in Chad and the Central African Republic. The Security Council believes the international community should take action in these two devastated countries. A possible 3,000-strong peacekeeping mission will offer support and security to displaced people and refugees. France's deputy UN ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix thinks that this Council initiative should be considered as a "political signal" of support by the EU for deployment in these regions. (International Herald Tribune)

UN Will Not Turn ‘Blind Eye' to Peacekeepers' Misconduct, Vows UN Official (July 25, 2007)

UN investigations confirm that Moroccan peacekeepers in the Ivory Coast sexually assaulted minors, while Indian peacekeepers in DR Congo participated in gold and weapons smuggling. To address such misconduct, the recently formed Department of Field Operations will establish a subsidiary Conduct and Discipline Unit. But Jane Lute, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Field Support, stresses that troop-contributing states, and not the UN, must ultimately work to prevent and punish misconduct. To that end Lute plans to visit troop-contributing countries to personally review with them the UN's "zero tolerance" standards for its peacekeepers. (UN News)

Trust Cannot Be Bought by Weakness in Sudan - Guehenno (July 17, 2007)

UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehenno, stresses that the UN Security Council should not reduce the AU-UN hybrid force's strength in an effort to win Khartoum's blessing. He acknowledges that the mission's success depends on the consent of all parties involved. But Guehenno says an explicit Security Council mandate will earn the trust of Khartoum and the rebels. Still, a resolution proposing 26,000 peacekeepers faces opposition in the UN Security Council as some member states object to the authorization for peacekeepers to "use all necessary means." (Reuters)

UN Troops 'Traded Gold for Guns' (May 23, 2007)

The BBC reports that a previous battalion of Pakistani UN peacekeeping troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo were illegally trading in gold and reselling weapons to militia groups that they were supposed to disarm. A UN official connected with the inquiry says that there may have been a plan to cover up reports of the trade in order not to alienate Pakistan – the largest troop contributor to the UN. Ambassador William Swing, the UN's senior representative in Congo, denies the weapons accusations and says that the gold trading is still being investigated.

Head to Head: Good Peacekeeping? (April 19, 2007)

The BBC interviews John Bolton, former conservative US representative at the United Nations, and Jean-Marie Guehenno, head of UN peacekeeping operations, on the morals, logistics and effectiveness of peacekeeping. Amongst other things, Bolton criticizes the Security Council for renewal of peacekeeping mandates without reviewing changing situations which may need new solutions. Guehenno says that whilst peacekeeping creates conditions for political dialogue to take place, the power to achieve lasting peace lies with sovereign states and their people.

When the Gloves of Peace Come Off (April 18, 2007)

The BBC investigates the increasing use of force by peacekeepers, drawing on the operations in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo as examples. Former commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Gen Augusto Heleno Ribeiro, says that he was under "extreme pressure from the international community to use violence." Dr Paul Higate, who studied peacekeeping in DR Congo and Sierra Leone, worries that Commanders' fears that losing a soldier on a peacekeeping operation might be seen as something of a failure may encourage greater use of force.

UN Peacekeeping Paramilitarism (February 15, 2007)

ZNet asserts that despite their supposed role as peacekeepers, UN Blue Helmets are often in reality used by outside powers as paramilitary enforcers of social control as a means of imperial exploitation. The article draws Haiti as a particular example of peacekeeping abuse saying that the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti has no right to be there and that the presence of the force is against the will of the country's majority. Other examples given are the Blue Helmet deployments in Lebanon, Kosovo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

United Nations: Skepticism Greets Plan to Split Peacekeeping (February 2, 2007)

Several countries have expressed grave doubts over UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's proposal to split the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) into two entities: a Department of Peace Operations and a Department of Field Support. While some are concerned that the change in structure will not follow established procedures of consultation with member states and budgetary committees, others fear it would expose soldiers to great danger by separating operational and logistical planning and control. Rumours are already circulating that one of the two Under Secretary General positions may be given to a US national. (Inter Press Service)

UN Conference to End Sexual Exploitation Held as Abuse Incidents Multiply (December 4, 2006)

In response to revelations of child abuse carried out by UN peacekeepers, member states, UN staff and non-governmental organizations gathered for a Conference on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. Conference participants discussed best practices and the establishment of reporting methods to expose abuses. Yet, the UN system cannot discipline about 80 percent of the peacekeeping force because troop contributing countries retain this responsibility. In addition, the solution lies not only in the hands of troop contributing countries but also in host countries that have to criminalize sexual exploitation, observers say. (Associated Press)

UN Troops Face Child Abuse Claims (November 30, 2006)

Despite UN efforts to combat the problem, a BBC investigation uncovered new cases of child abuses by UN peacekeepers while operating in Haiti and Liberia. These cases of sexual violence demonstrate the incapability of the UN to effectively control peacekeepers' actions as only home countries can discipline any infractions committed by the troops. The article points to the impunity of UN soldiers who rarely face punishment for their acts and instead are simply repatriated back to their country.

The Security Council Sets Massive New Challenges for UN Peacekeeping (September 8, 2006)

Within a period of twenty days, the Security Council mandated three new ambitious peacekeeping missions, which raised the number of personnel deployed around the world by 50 percent at a cost estimated to reach US$8 billion per year. This report addresses challenges of the United Nations in managing this significant increase of peacekeeping operations. (Security Council Report)

Peacekeeping Boom Strains United Nations (August 25, 2006)

As the UN extends its peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, uncertainty over financing sources, a lack of staff and procedural constraints cause many observers to question whether the organization can handle the load. UN peacekeeping "requires more commitment from the 192 UN member-nations" according to British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry. However, Parry pointed out how UN peacekeepers make up a "very small percentage" of troops available to member states and stressed their "value for money." (Reuters)

Economic Impact of Peacekeeping (March 2006)

This groundbreaking study by the Henry L. Stimson Center and the Peace Dividend Trust attempts to quantify the economic impact of UN peacekeeping operations on the strained economies in which peacekeepers operate. The report concludes that UN missions "do less harm," in economic terms, than commonly believed. But there is also considerable room to promote local economies, especially in procurement practices and in how missions hire and pay local personnel. The report warns that if missions don't acknowledge the economic impact of their presence and the need to manage them, UN peacekeeping operations may actually hinder the long-term development prospects of the fragile economies that international institutions and donors are trying to help.

Who Guards the Guards? The International Criminal Court and Serious Crimes Committed by Peacekeepers in Africa (February 2006)

This paper addresses civilian abuse at the hands of UN peacekeepers, and it asks whether the ICC can play a role in their prosecution. The authors conclude that the role of the ICC itself will be marginal as it has limited jurisdiction, and the court is meant as a complement to national jurisdictions. However, the authors hope that the very existence of the ICC will encourage domestic institutions to "prosecute all those guilty of international crimes, including peacekeepers." (Institute for Security Studies)

The Dogs that Never Barked (November 22, 2005)

A multi-government study reports that the number of deadly conflicts around the world has decreased by forty percent since the early 1990s. According to the president of the International Crisis Group, the reason for this turnaround lies in the huge increase in peacekeeping efforts to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts. In fact, he argues, the international community is much better now than it ever used to be at preventing conflict. For example, peacekeeping missions prevented Burundi, Indonesia and Macedonia from relapsing into large-scale violence. Human rights and humanitarian organizations reacted very critically to the report, contesting its thesis and debating its selection of "conflicts." The controversy will continue, but the report has charted new and interesting territory. (Los Angeles Times)

Putting the Warlords Out of Business (September 11, 2005)

UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno cites economic growth and improved peacekeeping efforts by the international community for what he considers a "wider trend away from war." Indeed, peacekeeping missions increasingly help the authorities stabilize a dangerous and fragile situation by organizing the disarmament of former fighters, assisting in setting up elections and providing humanitarian and economic aid. He mentions a number of success stories, from Burundi and Sierra Leone to East Timor and Afghanistan. (International Herald Tribune)

UN Peacekeeping More Assertive, Creating Risk for Civilians (August 15, 2005)

A July 2005 raid by UN peacekeepers against gang members in a Haitian slum ended with several injured civilians and increased criticism over UN failures in Haiti. The operation, along with others in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, also reflects a shift towards more aggressive peacekeeping tactics. UN peacekeeping official Jean-Marie Guehenno says "You don't want any Srebrenica, and you don't want Mogadishu," but the Washington Post warns that increasingly robust tactics could come at the high price of civilian casualties.

UN to Integrate Blue Helmets and Humanitarians (July 9, 2005)

In response to a May 2005 externally commissioned report on integrated missions, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland says that these types of missions "are here to stay." Though Egeland says he is "mindful" of critics who say integrated missions endanger impartiality and safety of humanitarian workers, he nevertheless fails to question whether the UN is capable of handling the difficult task. (Inter Press Service)

UN Peacekeeping Mandate Stretched to the Limit (June 25, 2005)

In the 60 years of its existence, the United Nations has increasingly overstretched its capacity to fulfill effective peacekeeping missions, says this San Francisco Chronicle article. The author accurately depicts the changing nature of peacekeeping missions over the years—from the "classic" Kashmir case to the lack of support and consensus on the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo—but fails to address any real solutions.

UN Tackles Sex Abuse by Troops (June 21, 2005)

Following reports of peacekeepers sexually abusing victims in conflict zones, the UN has addressed the accusations by investigating 152 cases since January 1, 2004, holding a Security Council meeting to demand accountability, and creating monitoring units in each UN peacekeeping mission. Regardless, the number of accusations has risen in recent years and the Christian Science Monitor
says sexual abuse in the Congo is "the final straw." For better results, the UN needs to protect whistle-blowers, prevent "obstruction by closed military cultures" and overcome "sensitivity over state sovereignty."

UN Forces Toughen Up (June 15, 2005)

Following several failed peacekeeping missions in the 1990s, the UN has shifted towards stronger troop mandates, allowing for a more "ferocious response" to conflict break-outs. Although UN representatives claim that its peacekeepers will remain impartial in enforcing peace agreements, critics highlight the increased "risk…that the UN may be identified with one side or another." Other possible repercussions of this more "robust" peacekeeping model include the prospect of more violent exchanges with armed groups and hence a "greater threat to nonmilitary UN personnel." (Christian Science Monitor)

UN Forces Using Tougher Tactics to Secure Peace (May 23, 2005)

After failed missions in the 1990s and increased violence against peacekeepers, UN forces have begun to use force granted by their Chapter VII mandate to protect soldiers and civilians—more frequently than ever before. Peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Burundi and the Ivory Coast have embraced "robust peacekeeping." Aggressive tactics are most apparent in Congo, where "it may look like war but it's peacekeeping." (New York Times)

Report on Integrated Missions (May 2005)

As UN peacekeeping becomes more robust, debate grows over the desirability of creating integrated missions - a system-wide UN response, subsuming security, political, and humanitarian aspects of crisis-management. This report notes the lack of "specific agreement" about what this concept comprises in practice and highlights the "humanitarian dilemma" of integrated missions: how can "the partiality involved in supporting a political transition process" ever successfully co-exist with "the impartiality needed to protect humanitarian space?" (Independent Study for the Expanded UN ECHA Core Group)

From Keeping Peace to Building Peace (April 2005)

Increasingly, the Security Council has changed the nature and purpose of its peacekeeping from deployment of forces and monitoring of ceasefires towards post-conflict peacebuilding, involving "comprehensive governance of territories." This Columbia Law Review article questions the legitimacy of Security Council involvement in peacebuilding, and suggests that it is more appropriate for a revived UN Trusteeship Council to administer post-conflict territories.

Sex Abuse by UN Civilian Employees Harder to Stop Than That of Troops (March 16, 2005)

The UN has set out a "zero tolerance" policy on sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, but the world body still worries about enforcing the new rules. The challenge applies in particular to civilian UN workers who are not under military command and whose crimes often go unpunished upon return to their home countries. The UN is exploring different options for punishing sex offenders, including the possibility of court-martialing soldiers in the country where the allegations were made. (Associated Press)

Sex Charges Haunt UN Forces (November 26, 2004)

Sexual misconduct has trailed UN peacekeepers from Kosovo to West Africa and East Timor. Although Secretary General Kofi Annan has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy, rules only apply to UN workers, not to peacekeepers under their national government's jurisdiction. Widespread impunity continues to encourage some peacekeepers to commit sexual violations. Assistant Secretary General for peacekeeping, Jane Holl Lute, says the UN must focus on prevention as long as its ability to punish offenders is restricted. (Christian Science Monitor)

Ivory Coast Is a Case of Too Much UN Coordination (November 26, 2004)

The precarious situation in Ivory Coast has severely reduced the capability of humanitarian NGOs at a time when the country needs them most. Representatives of Save the Children UK say the UN's integrated peacekeeping-humanitarianism approach, where the senior humanitarian official reports directly to peacekeeping coordinators, compromises the impartiality of aid workers. The authors hope the UN will reconsider integrated missions with the responses of independent NGOs in mind as well. (AlertNet)

UN Mission Sets Up Units to Check Sexual Abuse (November 15, 2004)

The UN peacekeeping mission in Burundi has set up a Code of Conduct Unit and a Gender Unit to combat sexual abuse by peacekeepers and to promote gender equality. UN staff hope the Code of Conduct Unit can serve as a "model" for other peacekeeping missions given sexual abuse scandals in a large number of West African missions. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)

Addressing the Sexual Misconduct of Peacekeepers (September 23, 2004)

Reports of sexual misconduct are widespread in UN peacekeeping missions. Although the UN espouses a "zero-tolerance" policy, "sovereign immunity, weak local capacity, and cumbersome bureaucratic procedures" prevent the UN from holding peacekeepers accountable. This Refugees International briefing asserts that member states must eliminate peacekeeper immunity to combat sexual abuse.

UN Chief Seeks 30,000 More Troops for Peacekeeping (September 7, 2004)

Three main factors drive Secretary General Kofi Annan's request for a troop increase: the possibility of a peacekeeping force for Sudan and increases in peacekeeping numbers for Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo. If member states provide the troops, the total number of peacekeeping forces will be the largest ever. At present, poor nations provide the bulk of forces and Western states remain reluctant to "actively participate in peacekeeping operations." (Inter Press Service)

A Job for the UN: A New Way to Prevent Conflicts (May 7, 2004)

Portugese Prime Minister José Manuel Durí£o Barroso and Mozambique's President Joaquim Chissano argue that the UN should focus more on conflict prevention rather than peacebuilding in the aftermath of a crisis. To achieve this goal, the UN would need to identify the root causes and nature of conflict situations, develop a common conflict prevention policy, and create a new body responsible for peace and development and preventing the recurrence of conflict. (International Herald Tribune)

A Plan to Strengthen UN Peacekeeping (April 19, 2004)

In this article, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, describes the challenges facing the UN to meet peacekeeping demands around the world. Guéhenno suggests four basic principles to guide the planning of future peacekeeping missions. (International Herald Tribune)

UN Peacekeeping Chief Tells of Major Challenges Ahead as Missions Expand (March 29, 2004)

The UN is facing more political, logistical, recruitment and security challenges, as it creates or expands more of its peacekeeping missions "on an almost unprecedented scale." The UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, argues that "a clear and precise mandate" for any new or expanded mission is crucial to the effective allocation of "limited resources." (UN News Center)

UN Troops Spread Across Africa (March 3, 2004)

As the UN is taking a more active role in the maintenance of peace and security across Africa, it is determined to learn from past mistakes and adopt a "more muscular approach to peacekeeping" in the continent, says the BBC.

Blue Man Group (August 27, 2003)

Notable UN peacekeeping failures in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda overshadow several peacekeeping success stories. The UN receives little attention for its work in hotspots such as Cyprus and Namibia because "the successes are by definition quiet." (New Republic)

UN: Human Cost of Intervention (August 21, 2003)

An attack on UN headquarters in Iraq follows a trend of attacks against the organization since its earliest days. Former Secretary General Dag Hammarskjí¶ld as well as 1,500 peacekeeping troops lost their lives in the service of UN mediation and peacekeeping. (BBC)

Peacekeeping Is Back, With New Faces and Rules (July 20, 2003)

The New York Times reports that recent UN peacekeeping operations (PKOs) mainly consist of troops from developing countries. More economically robust countries pay the peacekeeping budget. The Under-Secretary General for PKOs worries that this segregation "could cause some resentment."

An Almighty Force for the Congo and Liberia? (July 3, 2003)

Former UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjí¶ld envisioned peacekeepers as lightly-armed overseers of conflict mediation. Jonathan Power praises this venerable tradition, but argues that for Congo and Liberia, "something more heavy handed is immediately needed." (Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research)

Peacekeeping's Unsavory Side (June 10, 2003)

A UNIFEM report finds that instances of rape and human trafficking "often coexist alongside peacekeeping operations." Barbara Crossette reports on the individuals who expose bad behavior among UN peacekeepers and the populations under their protection. (UN Wire)

UN Will Send Peacekeepers to Ivory Coast (May 13, 2003)

A unanimous vote in the Security Council established MINUCI, the peacekeeping mission to the Ivory Coast. The mission will monitor January's ceasefire agreement and provide aid and advice to its military and civilian enforcers. (Reuters)

"The Important Thing for Me is Being There" (May 9, 2003)

Freelance journalist Linda Polman records her observations of peacekeeping missions in Haiti and Somalia. She blames wealthy Security Council members for lacking the will to properly fund and equip these peacekeeping teams. (The Guardian)

UN Council Backs Ivory Coast Peacekeeping Force (February 5, 2003)

The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a peacekeeping force to ensure the protection of civilians for an initial six-month period. The conflict has left hundreds dead and fears of a regional catastrophe. (Reuters)

China to Aid UN Peace Mission in Congo (January 31, 2003)

Despite its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, China did not take part in peacekeeping missions until 1989. Recently, Beijing announced plans to send more than 200 engineers and medics on a UN peacekeeping mission to Congo. (Associated Press)



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