China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Zhang Jun on Monday called for greater efforts to ensure the safety and security of UN peacekeepers in an open debate held by the UN Security Council.
Zhang stated that UN peacekeeping operations represent an important means for the maintenance of international peace and security. Over more than 70 years, at least 4,000 peacekeepers have died in the line of duty. This year, 50 peacekeepers have laid down their precious lives. While peacekeeping operations cannot be absolutely risk-free, we should try our best to minimize security risks, said Zhang.
In recent years, the UN has continued to increase the importance placed on the safety and security of peacekeepers. It is necessary to increase spending and ensure that security considerations be reflected in the implementation of action plans, Zhang stressed.
Zhang called for the UN to concentrate optimal resources on resolving the key and difficult issues facing peacekeepers in safety and security.
Zhang said that the COVID-19 pandemic is a new challenge to safety and security, and China calls for the early completion of vaccination for all peacekeepers.
“The development and use of new technologies is changing rapidly, and peacekeeping operations should not be left behind. While the world is changing, so are the risks faced by peacekeepers. We should keep up with the developments and stay ahead of risks as much as possible, incorporate safety precautions into all aspects of decision making, training, equipment, and management, and reduce casualties among peacekeepers through preventive action,” said Zhang.
For more than 30 years China has attached great importance to the safety and security of peacekeepers. China has also decided to donate 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to peacekeepers. China stands ready to continue to work with other council members and the international community in contributing to the protection of peacekeepers, said Zhang.
The Security Council should formulate realistic, clear, and operable mandates for peacekeeping operations and avoid needless sacrifice due to inappropriate mandates. All member states should pay their peacekeeping budget dues on time and in full. Utmost efforts should be made to investigate attacks against peacekeepers and to bring the perpetrators to justice, said Zhang.
Zhang chaired the open debate, while Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the under-secretary-general for peace operations, Atul Khare, the under-secretary-general for operational support, and Gilles Michaud, the under-secretary-general for safety and security gave briefings on UN peacekeeping. The participants approved the chairman’s statement on improving the safety of peacekeepers drafted by China.