Due to the UN’s impartiality, cost-effectiveness, and high level of international legitimacy, the U.S. has relied on UN peacekeepers to help stabilize a variety of conflict zones over the years. In recognition of the benefits of UN peacekeeping activities, the United States, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, has actively supported a nine-fold increase in the number of peacekeepers operating around the world since 1999.UN peacekeepers position themselves between conflicting parties. They bring stability and promote peace by creating conditions for rebuilding successful societies, providing humanitarian assistance, protecting civilians, and reducing violence.
Over the last year alone, the Security Council established two new peacekeeping missions to promote peace and security in the new nation of South Sudan and along its border with Sudan, and voted to expand ongoing operations in Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire to promote democratic governance and free elections. In particular, UN peacekeepers:
- Monitor, verify and report on ceasefires and peace agreements. UN peacekeepers deter violence and create political space for consolidating and sustaining peace in regions that are important to U.S. interests.
- Facilitate humanitarian access. The cessation of violence is only the first step towards sustainable peace. The United States partners with the UN to deliver life-saving assistance -- including food, water, medical care, and shelter-- to war-torn regions.
- Protect civilians. In some missions, UN peacekeepers are authorized to protect civilians from being targeted by armed factions. Often, the legitimacy and credibility of those missions depends upon the peacekeepers’ ability to do so. To be successful in their efforts to protect citizens, UN peacekeepers need Member States to provide funding, equipment, and political support.