Mr Andrew Mitchell
Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
When the UN was founded, it was designed to respond to conflicts between sovereign states. However, most contemporary armed conflicts are intrastate conflicts, and the UN has struggled to adapt and modernize itself to deal with these challenges. Although UN peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts have done a great deal to relieve human suffering, for instance in the DRC peacemaking and peacekeeping process, these achievements have recently been overshadowed by a failure to act in the face of humanitarian disasters such as the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Bosnia, and now Darfur. In his presentation , Mr Mitchell provides a sympathetic but critical analysis of the UN performance in peacekeeping, and suggestions for reform.
There is little doubt that despite serious flaws in the its peacekeeping institutions, policies and operations, the UN, in conjunction with regional organizations, remains the best vehicle for peacemaking and peacekeeping. Mr Mitchell is particularly interested in the role that Britain, as both a permanent member of the Security Council, and a major contributor to the UN, can play as a leader in promoting a serious reform agenda. The UN needs greater capacity and capabilities both in peacemaking, and peacekeeping. The ongoing crisis in Darfur has highlighted the issues of humanitarian intervention, peace enforcement, and the right of civilians to protection.
Much of the current and future credibility of the UN itself depends on its capacity for internal reform; this, in turn, will impact on its ability to address the humanitarian challenges in zones of conflict.
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