United Nations Peacekeeping: Issues for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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A major issue facing the United Nations, the United States, and the 110th Congress is the extent to which the United Nations has the capacity to restore or keep the peace in the changing world environment. Associated with this issue is the expressed need for a reliable source of funding and other resources for peacekeeping and improved efficiencies of operation. For the United States, major congressional considerations on U.N. peacekeeping stem from executive branch commitments made in the U.N. Security Council. The concern with these commitments, made through votes in the Council, is the extent to which they bind the United States to fund and to participate in some way in an operation. This includes placing U.S. military personnel under the control of foreign commanders. Peacekeeping has come to constitute more than just the placement of military forces into a cease-fire situation with the consent of all the parties. Military peacekeepers may be disarming or seizing weapons, aggressively protecting humanitarian assistance, and clearing land mines. Peacekeeping operations also now involve more non-military personnel and tasks such as maintaining law and order, election monitoring, and human rights monitoring. Proposals for strengthening U.N. peacekeeping and other aspects of U.N. peace and security capacities have been adopted in the United Nations, by the U.S. executive branch, and by Congress. Some are being implemented. Most authorities have agreed that if the United Nations is to be responsive to 21st century world challenges, both U.N. member states and the appropriate U.N. organs will have to continue to improve U.N. structures and procedures in the peace and security area. This report serves as a tracking report for action by Congress on United Nations peacekeeping.
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