United Nations (UN) is a one of the largest and the most powerful international organizations with a rich history. The history of the UN goes back to 1945, when it was founded immediately after World War II by 51 countries. The main purpose of this organization was to maintain peace in the post-war world as well as to develop friendly relations among different nations.
Nowadays the UN has a number of peacekeeping and social projects in different parts of the world, which are aimed at preventing armed conflicts, control over compliance with human rights, and general improvement of the quality of life in a row of developing countries.
The UN can be rightly regarded as a unique international organization, since it incorporates a number of councils and committees, each of them performs various functions addressed to the most significant issues of a human life. The most influential bodies incorporated in the UN include the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council.
Over the past six decades, the UN peacekeeping operations have advanced and converted into a complex, global undertaking. During this time, the whole range of the UN peacekeeping operations was guided by an unwritten body of principles based on the experience of the many thousand people who have served in more than 60 operations launched since 1948 worldwide (United Nations, 2009).
The UN Peacekeeping Operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Undoubtedly, of the most prominent UN peacekeeping operations was held in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC).
The mission was held in Congo, a country which favorable geographical position and natural resources proved to be rather attractive for the global powers. Being granted independence by Belgium in 1960, the country immediately became involved in the Cold War between Washington and Moscow (Bernath & Edgerton, 2003).
The recent impact of the West was also destructive: France supported the ethnic group that initiated genocide in Rwanda, and the USA rejected the attempts to prevent it. To compensate their negative influence upon the region, the US readily supported the UN mission which was proposed in 1999, and the other countries also expressed their willingness to participate in the operation (Mihalas, 2006).
The mission statement for the operation under examination included establishing and maintaining the presence of the peace-keepers in the unstable areas of the country, security guarantee for the UN staff as well as for civilians, monitoring of the ceasefire agreements between the parties of confrontation, providing humanitarian assistance, promotion of the human right, coordination of the mine removal activities, and active support of the international dialog in the region in order to achieve political progress.
Initially, the UN troops sent to the region were mostly supported by the USA. Later on, a number of other countries joined the operation performing a wide range of different tasks. The nations of the developing countries, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and India provided the bulk of the UN troops, both for the reasons of prestige and, in some cases, for the financial compensation. These countries joined the operation in 2003 along with Uruguay, Nepal and Marocco. From the EU-countries, France provided the major part of the personnel and aircraft support (Gotab, 2010). India also provided its air force for the participation in MONUC. Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan actively participated in the units requiring engineering, helicopter transportation, infantry, logistics, and medical care (Burgess, 2007).
The MONUC mission faced a number of challenges, the most significant among which were sexual and gender-based violence, insufficiency of resources and their irrational exploitation, and threats to the internally displaced persons. Nevertheless, the mission statement of MONUC proved to be achievable in terms equipment, logistics and manpower. MONUC benefited from the proper funding, which was granted mostly by the US (Krabacher, Kalipeni & Layachi, 2009). Resources and the given authority were also sufficient to fulfil the tasks assigned in the statement successfully.
A number of recommendations were made to the UN organizations considering the planning of MONUC and the basic functions which were expected to be performed by it. The aircraft operations had to comply with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The preliminary approval of the engineering section was also needed.
MONUC came upon many obstacles, the main reason for which was Bosco Ntaganda, the former Congolese general who caused the wave of violence in the region. Ntaganda secured the support of several armed groups in northeastern Congo. Civil Congolese population bore the burden of the military violence.
Though many difficulties were present, MONUC operation ultimately achieved success in the most important issue, such as holding the ceasefire between the parties of confrontation.
The future of MONUC is seen in the fulfillment of the key tasks, such as reforming the security sector, protecting the internally displaced persons, providing assistance in the establishment of friendly relationship with the neighboring countries, re-establishing control of the state over the resources, promotion of economic growth and stability.
The case study of MONUC provided the brief overview of the conflict. The mission underwent a number of evolutionary stages, with an emphasis on the conceptualization and implementation of its mandate to protect civil population.
The conflict, which served as the reason for the MONUC initiation, is one of the most complicated in the world. It has involved civil wars in the neighboring states (such as Rwanda, the Central African Republic, Uganda, Sudan, Angola), centuries of exploitive and abusive government, illegal exploitation of the natural resources, and the manipulation of ethnic tensions (George & Bennett, 2005).
Still, the positive influence of the UN presence in the region can be clearly seen.