Friday, November 07, 2003

UN: private armies for peacekeeping?

Earlier this week, a 16-member review panel was convened to explore how the UN could be more responsive. And it seems that one of the things they'll be looking at is the the feasibility of using "private security forces" in peackekeeping missions to countries with "low intensity" conflicts.

A company has already come forward with some ideas on how this would work ...
The company would establish a database of up to 5,000 former soldiers willing to work for UN daily rates, from which 200 or so could be drawn at short notice to deal with "brush fire" disputes before they get out of hand. "Two hundred armed men deployed early on can make a big difference," Mr Martin said [he's a partner with Global Security Partnership Project]. He said he was confident there would be no shortage of people who would make themselves available on a voluntary basis, in the same way that mountain rescue teams and Britain's lifeboat crews were volunteer forces.

... There is a precedent for private sector intervention in peacekeeping by non-profit groups. The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, a Swiss foundation funded mostly by European governments, brokered a ceasefire agreement in December 2002 between the Indonesian government and rebels in the province of Aceh.

The centre also ran the agreement's international monitoring operation, using about 50 out-of-uniform troops seconded mainly from the Thai and Philippine armed forces. The monitors were withdrawn in May as the agreement collapsed.