United Nations Opreations in Congo-Onuc Research Paper

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" More precisely, the role of the Resolution was to establish the UN Operation in the Congo. This came as a result of the vivid request of the Government for the UN to intervene, given the troop movement from the Belgian side.

The action taken by the Belgian was clearly justifiable. Similar to the cases of Somalia and Rwanda, the nationals from the colonizing country are at great risk at the moment of a civil war outbreak. At the same time, the nationals of other countries as well represent a potential subject for revenge or blackmail. The United Nations' mandate however and its subsequent actions would not have been possible without the explicit request from the government of the country. Therefore, although the UN had a legitimate reason for entering the Congo in the condition of potential lives being at risk, the mandate of the UN is politically authorized solely in the moment in which the national government request the Secretary General to take action.

The UN Operation in the Congo represented a milestone for the United Nations particularly because it was the first peacekeeping mission of the UN in Africa. However it proved to be one of the most difficult. There were several factors to consider, but the political situation in the country, which also resulted in the assassination of Prime Minister Lumumba was the most difficult.

The mandate of the Mission included in a first instance the eventual withdrawal of the Belgian troops from the Congolese territory I respect for the independence of the country and the restoration of peace. However, its mandate eventually extended over a period of four years, leaving several elements still unfinished that would eventually burst and fuel other years of tension and civil war to this day.

The immediate nature of the Mission was obvious in the clear-cut vote offered in the Security Council for the establishment of the mission. Thus, the Council resolution was adopted by 8 votes in favor (including the Soviet Union and the United States) to none against, with three abstentions.] in less than 48 hours, contingents of a United Nations Force, provided by a number of countries including Asian and African States began to arrive in the Congo. At the same time, United Nations civilian experts were rushed to the Congo to help ensure the continued operations of essential public services"

The four years that followed with the UN in the Congo saw important historical developments for the country. The split of the government between those wanting to have a serious control over Katonga and the rest was crucial. Furthermore, the taking over of power by the military through Mobuto Sese Seko was as well an important event because it pointed out the serious crisis that was underway in the Congo. The military is in this types of countries perhaps the most important force in the society largely because that at the moment in which the military takes over the power, it is assumed that the government is no longer functioning and coherent.

During this time, the UN, despite the impressive number of troops that mounted to around 20,000 was not able to face an even extending mandate. From ensuring the clear dismissal of foreign troops in the Congo to ensuring and defending the territorial integrity of the country, the mandate of the UN extended by the year. The most important move was the one authorized by Resolution 161 dated February 21, 1961 which stated that "deeply concerned at the grave repercussions of these crimes and the danger of widespread civil war and bloodshed in the Congo and the threat to international peace and security (…) urges that the United Nations take immediately all appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of civil war in the Congo, including arrangements for cease-fires, the halting of all military operations, the prevention of clashes and the use of force, if necessary in the last resort; urges that measures be taken for the immediate withdrawal and evacuation from the Congo of all Belgian and other foreign military and paramilitary personnel and political advisers not under the UN Command, and mercenaries"

Mistakes and lessons learned

The extended mandate for the UN represented a positive signal for the Congo and the world. At the same time however, it further underlined the fact that the interest of foreign nationals and their well being was determinant for the way in which the UN acted. This is largely because the Charter is rather strict to this day on the way in which intervention is justifiable against the UN international law

. There have been situations in which the role of intervention and that of the UN were crucial in legitimizing both the intervention and the UN as the supreme international forum. Such a case was the 1990s intervention in Iraq as a result of the invasion of Kuwait. At that moment the UN supported the intervention as a response of open aggression. The international law stipulates all situations; for the Congo case, the UN failed to provide clear evidence of its legitimacy in the country.

The second issue at hand when addressing the shortcomings of the Operations is related to the actual right to intervene at the call of a government which in its turn failed to offer clear legitimacy. During the political turmoil of the time, it was rather difficult to assert whether the Prime Minister was in charge or the President had sacked him. Therefore, the legitimacy of the intervention, years later, has been placed in question. Yet, given this fragile legitimacy, the results of the UN failed to meet the expectations as the population refused to offer full support to the mission.

Finally, a third mistake made by the UN in its management of the Congo crisis was related precisely to its mandate

. In this sense, the fact that the mandate of the mission was constantly changing it was rather difficult to ascertain the way in which the focers must remain neutral but engaged and the way in which they should intervene to stop a potential danger or risk. Given the limited experience with peacekeeping operations, the Congo experience proved to be efficient. Yet at the time, it failed to leave behind in 1964 a stable and on the way to development country.

Conclusion

The United Nations is indeed one of the biggest and most important actors of the contemporary world. The Congo situation proved once more that should there be a human interest involved, the UN would intervene. The level of intervention however differs. The Congo experience has pointed out that the international law must be obeyed and that legitimacy for a force is crucial if a result is to be achieved. The UN embraced the experience and at the moment is yet again in the Congo to try to set closure to a civil war, a conflict that has clear reminiscences from the 1960-1964 presence of the United Nations.

References

BBC. "UN chief's Rwanda genocide regret" BBC News. 2004. Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3573229.stm

Calvocoressi, Peter. World politics since 1945. New York: Longman, 1996

Encyclopedia online. Africa: Belgian Colonies - History of Belgian Colonization, the Administration of Congo by the Belgians (1908 -- 1960) n.d. Available at http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/5918/Africa-Belgian-Colonies.html

History World. The Democratic Republic of Congo. N.d. Available at http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ad34

Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy. London: Simon & Schuster, 1995

Macqueen, Norrie. United Nations peacekeeping in Africa since 1960?. London: Pearson Education Limited, 2002.

United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. The Democratic Republic of the Congo: ONUC. N.d. Available at http://www.un.org/Depts/DPKO/Missions/onucB.htm.

United Nations. "Resolution 161 (1961)." United Nations Information Office. N.d. Available at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/171/68/IMG/NR017168.pdf-OpenElement

Peter Calvocoressi, World politics since 1945. New York: Longman, 1996.

BBC. "UN chief's Rwanda genocide regret" BBC News. 2004. Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3573229.stm

Encyclopedia online. Africa: Belgian Colonies - History of Belgian Colonization, the Administration of Congo by the Belgians (1908 -- 1960) n.d. Available at http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/5918/Africa-Belgian-Colonies.html

History World. The Democratic Republic of Congo. N.d. Available at http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ad34

idem

Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy. London: Simon & Schuster, 1995

Norrie Macqueen, United Nations peacekeeping in Africa since 1960?. London: Pearson Education Limited, 2002

United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. The Democratic Republic of the Congo: ONUC. N.d. Available at http://www.un.org/Depts/DPKO/Missions/onucB.htm

United Nations. "Resolution 161 (1961)." United Nations Information Office. N.d. Available at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/171/68/IMG/NR017168.pdf-OpenElement

Norrie Macqueen, United Nations peacekeeping in Africa since 1960?. London: Pearson Education Limited, 2002

idem[continue]

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