Peace Keeping Operations

Peace keeping refers to activities intended to create conditions that favour lasting peace in a war torn country. Peace keeping missions prevent the risk of renewed conflict. United Nation (UN) is the largest international organization that is committed to establishment of world peace.

The peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas. They may also assist ex-combatants in implementing peace agreement commitments that they have undertaken. Such assistance may come in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development.

India is one of the largest troops contributor to the United Nations for peacekeeping missions.

Peacekeeping refers to activities intended to create conditions that favour lasting peace. Research has found that peacekeeping reduces civilian and battlefield deaths and reduces the risk of renewed warfare. Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Peacekeeping operations are defined as "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace."

It is distinguished from peace building, peacemaking, and peace enforcement although the United Nations does acknowledge that all activities are "mutually reinforcing" and that overlap between them is frequent in practice.

Types of Peacekeeping Operations

There are various types of operations within peace keeping. The UN peacekeeping is governed by Chapter VI and Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Chapter VI missions are consent based, therefore they require the consent of the warring factions involved in order to operate. Should they lose that consent, Peacekeepers would be compelled to withdraw.

Chapter VII missions, by contrast, do not require consent, though they may have it. If consent is lost at any point, Chapter VII missions would not be required to withdraw. Chapter VII mission are peace enforcement missions.


Peace-enforcement meant to act with or without the consent of the belligerents in order to ensure any treaty or cease-fire mandated by the United Nations Security Council is maintained. This is done primarily under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and the forces are generally heavily armed as opposed to the unarmed, or lightly armed personnel frequently deployed as observers.


Peace-making intends to compel belligerents to seek a peaceful settlement for their differences via mediation and other forms of negotiation provided by the UN under Chapter VI of the UN Charter.


Peace-keeping is deployment of a lightly-armed United Nations presence in the field with the consent of the belligerents involved in order to build confidence and monitor agreements between concerned parties. Additionally, diplomats continue to work toward comprehensive and lasting peace, or for the implementation of an agreed upon peace.

Post-Conflict Reconstruction

Post-Conflict Reconstruction is intended to develop economic and social cooperation to mend relations between the belligerents. Social, political, and economic infrastructure would ideally prevent potential violence and conflict in the future and help to contribute to a lasting and robust peace.

Charter of the United Nations Peace keeping

The Charter of the United Nations was signed in San Francisco on 26 June 1945 and is the foundation document for all United Nations work. The United Nations was established to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" and one of its main purposes is to maintain international peace and security.

Peacekeeping, although not explicitly provided for in the Charter, has evolved into one of the main tools used by the United Nations to achieve this purpose. The Charter gives the United Nations Security Council, a primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. To fulfill this responsibility, the Security Council may adopt a range of measures, including peacekeeping operations. The legal basis for such action is found in Chapters VI, VII and VIII of the Charter.

While Chapter VI deals with the "Pacific Settlement of Disputes", Chapter VII contains provisions related to "Action with Respect to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression".

Chapter VIII of the Charter also provides for the involvement of regional arrangements and agencies in the maintenance of international peace and security. United Nations peacekeeping operations have traditionally been associated with Chapter VI.

In recent years, the Security Council has adopted the practice of invoking Chapter VII of the Charter when authorizing the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping operations into volatile post conflict settings where the State is unable to maintain security and public order. The Security Council's invocation of Chapter VII in these situations provide the legal basis for its action and can be seen as a statement of firm political resolve.

Principles of Peacekeeping

There are three basic principles that define UN peacekeeping operations. These three principles are inter-related and mutually reinforcing:

1. Consent of the Parties

UN peacekeeping operations are deployed with the consent of the main parties to the conflict. This requires a commitment by the parties to a political process. Their acceptance of a peacekeeping operation provides the UN with the necessary freedom of action, both political and physical, to carry out its mandated tasks.

The fact that the main parties have given their consent to the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation does not necessarily imply or guarantee that there will also be consent at the local level due to internal differences or conflicts.

2. Impartiality

Impartiality is crucial to maintain the consent and cooperation of the main parties and should not be confused with neutrality or inactivity. A mission should not shy away from a rigorous application of the principle of impartiality for fear of misinterpretation or retaliation. Failure to do so may undermine the peacekeeping operation's credibility and legitimacy. It may lead to a withdrawal of consent by one or more of the parties.

3. Non-Use of Force Except in Self-Defence and Defence of the Mandate

UN peacekeeping operations are not an enforcement tool. However, they may use force at the tactical level, with the authorization of the Security Council, if acting in self-defence and defence of the mandate. The Security Council may also authorize the use of force by UN peacekeepers to deter forceful attempts to disrupt the political process, protect civilians under imminent threat of physical attack, and/or assist the national authorities in maintaining law and order.

A UN peacekeeping operation should only use force as a measure of last resort. It should always be calibrated in a precise, proportional and appropriate manner, within the principle of the minimum force necessary to achieve the desired effect. The various factors that decide the measure of force to be applied include mission capability; public perceptions; humanitarian impact; force protection; safety and security of personnel; and the effect that such action will have on national and local level.