Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at Arria Meeting on 'Protecting the Peacekeeper'
Statement26 March 2021
Thank you very much indeed, dear Martin, and I also want to say thank you very much to you and the briefers today for bringing our attention to this really important topic.
For Ireland, keeping safe the women and the men we deploy as peacekeepers is paramount and that’s why we are delighted to be with you now, co-hosting today’s discussion.
As we know from our own experience one fatality is one fatality too many. This year regrettably, 10 noble UN peacekeepers have been killed, many more injured, the majority caused by IEDs. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of all who gave their lives in the cause of peace. We condemn such attacks unequivocally, calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Ireland has developed significant expertise in the area of countering landmines, IEDs and explosive remnants of war. We are committed to sharing this experience and working to build capacity among other troop contributing countries. We see working together to enhance TCC and host nation capacity as central to increasing the safety of all our peacekeepers. This has inspired us also to contribute to UN IED Survivability doctrine and to the related training capability development.
As we know, armed groups are becoming ever more innovative in their use of IEDs. We need to be equally innovative in how we mitigate this threat. This includes examining how armed groups exploit the accessibility of information and technology. Here, effective export controls are crucial.
Knowing when, where, and how an adversary might attack our peacekeepers is the most effective mitigation measure of all. This requires an enhanced understanding of the peacekeeping operational environment, we have heard almost every speaker say that. As a former co-chair of the Peacekeeping Military Intelligence train-the-trainer working group, Ireland knows the importance of building an intelligence picture of peacekeeping environments, both to mitigate this risk and – more broadly- to enhance mandate implementation.
We welcome the revised UN peacekeeping intelligence policy, which we believe provides a strong framework for enhancing situational awareness in UN Peacekeeping Operations. Operations should be intelligence-led, and Ireland calls for the full implementation of UN Peacekeeping Intelligence policies on the ground, where they matter.
The recently adopted C34 report sets out a number of recommendations relevant and important to this discussion today. These include strengthening IED threat mitigation at the mission level, and increasing pre-deployment training, including through the deployment of mobile training teams, to enhance skills among troop contributing countries. We strongly support these recommendations. Martin, women peacekeepers play an increasingly important role in UN Peacekeeping responsibilities globally. We see it as critical that they are also upskilled in this regard. We believe that women peacekeepers should have the opportunity to serve right across the full range of roles in their deployments.
Many IED attacks occur in populated areas, causing indiscriminate horrific harm to civilians, including children, and damaging critical civilian infrastructure, also interrupting the delivery of humanitarian aid. These impacts can have immediate and long-term consequences. Our approach, we believe, should be to recognise the multifaceted challenge IEDs pose, including the gendered impacts of their use. Ireland is chairing the consultation process to agree a Political Declaration on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in order to address the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons, and to deliver important behavioural change to strengthen compliance with IHL. We look forward to working on this with all stakeholders.
The use of IEDs poses a serious threat to the safety and security of our peacekeepers on a daily basis and it poses a threat to those they seek to protect. We must do more to mitigate the threat, including through sharing expertise, and building greater capacity among troop contributing countries. As a long-standing troop contributor, Ireland, with decades of experience in this field, Ireland assures you of Ireland’s continued commitment to provide leadership in this area.