The United Nations (UN) has a security council that consists of 15 members. The main purpose of this council is to resolve any issues and conflicts in order to maintain peace among the nations in the world. This council was initiated in 1946. The formation of this council happened at the time when the League of Nations failed. The main reason given for their failure is the fact that they didn't have enough influence on the members to make them adopt resolutions. However, UN's Security Council not only works as the council that solves the conflicts and other issues that arise but it also creates sanctions, binds resolutions, dispatches peace speakers etc.
From among all the bodies of the UN, Security Council is usually the first one that tries to solve the conflicts. Its main aim is to solve the conflicts even before they take place. Therefore, usually in sessions the security council starts with addressing the conflicts, for this reason it is very important for the member states to have a member ready at all times.
Out of the 15 members in the Security Council there are 5 members who are permanent. These members are from Russian Federation, the United States of America, the People's Republic of China, The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and France. These Permanent 5 members are also known as the P-5. These members are very powerful as they have the power to veto over any of the resolutions that are made by the UN. The rest of the 10 members come for 2 years and currently they are from the countries Morocco, Columbia, India, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Pakistan, Germany, Portugal, Guatemala and Togo.
The Security Council was created in 1948 as a consequence of the initiation of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. It is the duty of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO) to help the countries in completing the journey from the early conflicts to the peace making by providing them with the essential peace building, political and the security building support (UN Peacekeeping, 2011a).
At the moment there are 16 missions that are being maintained by the UNPKO in 4 continents. These missions included Kosovo, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Haiti (UN Peacekeeping, 2011b). In order to protect the civilians, promote the human rights and facilitate the electoral processes, the Blue Berets or the Peacekeepers are called upon.
Although a Nobel Peace Prize was won by the UNPKO in 1988 and it exists as an institution but it is still being criticized and constant calls are being made to reform it. The three major reasons why this organization is being criticized are: the fact that prostitution and human trafficking has increased in the peacekeeping areas, the capacity of the peacekeeping troops to exert harm over others is huge and the efficiency of the organization.
It was in 1948 that the United Nations Peacekeeping Operation's emerged as a global phenomenon. The main reason behind the emergence of this organization was the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization which was the first peacekeeping mission. The main reason why this organization was created was to make sure that the conflicts that may arise in Israel, which was a newly formed state at the time, could be resolved. The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was built in 1949. It is the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) that unites all these organizations. Although the Security Council is the one that has the authority over all of these organizations but the DPKO is there to keep a look at the day-to-day activities of the organizations. The head of the DPKO is the Secretary General.
The United Nations Charter asks the members states to provide them with their security and armed forces in order to implement and ensure their peacekeeping. Until now about 130 countries have provided it with their forces (Contributions to UN, 2011a). Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and India are the top five leading contributors in providing the UN with their forces (Contributions to UN, 2011b).
The peacekeeping in the UN is funded by the members as well. According to the article 17 all the member states have to provide the UN with the funds. Unlike the highest troop contributors the nations that are the highest finance contributors to the UN are United States, Germany, Japan, France and United Kingdom. If the history of the funds given to the UN is observed it can be seen that during the last 5 Fiscal year almost 27% of the funds have been given by the U.S. (Financing Peacekeeping, 2011).
Almost since the establishment of UNPKO this institute has faced criticism. The peacekeepers are usually placed at very precarious places in order to stop them from harming each other in some sort of a conflict as, there is a possibility that some might get injured or even killed in case of a conflict among them. It has been mentioned very clearly that the peacekeepers can't be harmed in anyway. However, at times there are organizations that don't really listen to these instructions. This problem needs to be taken seriously and dealt with because if it continues to persist there is a chance that the member states might stop sending their troops as, they will feel that they aren't safe.
Another criticism that is being faced by the organization is regarding an increase in the prostitution and the human trafficking in the peacekeeping areas. It has been noted that these illegal activities have increased since the peacekeeping troops have started coming in. This doesn't particularly mean that the UN peacekeepers are responsible for these acts (although some accusations have been placed against them); this merely means that they have not been able to control these illegal activities in an effective manner (UN Resolution, 1996).
It was in the 1990s that the organization's efficiency seriously started being questioned. The main reasons behind these criticisms were the two huge failures off UNPKO one was the Rwanda in 1994 and the other was Bosnia in 1995. It was during these two failures that about one-third of all the UN's peacekeepers fatalities took place. There were massive killings, destruction and the abuse of human rights. Therefore, people started questioning the intentions of this organization as it was clearly believed that it could have stopped all this from happening if it has wanted to (UN Peacekeeping, 2011c).
Presently there are more than 100,000 peacekeeping personnel that are out in the fields. Most of these are soldiers but there are some policemen and other civilian advisors as well who are working in over a dozen operations. Right now UN has 16 missions that are being carried out all around the world which is the largest that the organization has ever gotten. Therefore, this increase in its size has obviously increased the criticisms as well (Peacekeeping, 2011).
There are still concerns regarding the peacekeepers fatalities. The year 2010 is marked as the second bloodiest season in the history of UN as 173 UN peacekeepers were killed in that year. The highest numbers of deaths occurred in 1993 when 231 people died. Therefore, due to these numbers the member states are becoming more and more concerned about the security of their armed personnel being sent to the UN (UN Peacekeeping, 2011d).
Out of the three issues that the UN peacekeeping is being criticized about the most important one is the issue of the prostitution and the human trafficking. The number of these illegal activities is continuously increasing. It was in 2009 that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo there were 8300 rapes reported. However, the number can be a lot more than this considering the people who might not have reported them (BBC, 2011). The UN is being criticized as no strict actions are being taken by it to stop these activities from happening (MacFarquhar, 2011).
Due to the increase in the number of missions, the UN peacekeeping has become a very expensive investment for the member countries. The budget at which the DPKO operates is approximately U.S.$8 billion. Just like the troops the DPKO has to be funded by the UN member states and although the U.S. charter is funding the organization, these funds aren't sufficient. As, a result of this, the missions are often under-funded which is adding up to the criticism. Questions are also being raised about the efficiency of the UN with regards to the scope of the organizations. The reason behind this is the fact that when troops and peacekeepers are sent to resolve the peace conflicts they are often given a very narrow mandate. This narrow mandate doesn't give them a chance to explore the root cause of the issue and because of this there is always a chance that the conflict might arise again as it wasn't solved properly (Piesing, 2011).