A United Nations Emergency Peace Service - from WFUNA News June 2008
A growing global movement of citizens groups, academics, government officials and UN agencies is coming together to create a permanent UN Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS) to ensure that the tools and capacities are in place to prevent the next humanitarian disaster.
Sir Brian Urquhart, Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs believes that this initiative is of "the greatest importance both to the UN as a responsible institution and to the millions as of yet unknown, innocent victims who might, in the future, be saved by this essential addition to the UN's capacity to act on their behalf… There is one overwhelming argument for the United Nations Emergency Peace Service. It is desperately needed, and it is needed as soon as possible".
It is envisaged that UNEPS would be permanent, and composed of 12,000 - 15,000 personnel recruited from volunteers from many countries. It would be an expertly trained, integrated service encompassing civilian, police, judicial and military personnel with the skills and capacity to conduct multiple functions in diverse UN operations and able to respond to crisis situations within 48 hours.
UNEPS is described as a 'service' because it is designed to enforce international laws in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes. Against the background of the tragedies of Rwanda and Dafur, the concept of 'responsible sovereignty' is becoming widely accepted, establishing the norm that if governments do not protect their own citizens from gross violations of their rights, the international community has a duty to act.
A publication outlining the details of this initiative has recently been produced by the Global Action to Prevent War, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the World Federalist Movement. Other organizations that have already joined the coalition include Human Rights Watch, World Order Models Project, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (Australia), Peace Research Center (Spain), Center for International Political Studies (South Africa), and more. For more information, visit: http://www.globalactionpw.org. To receive updates and endorse the UNEPS initiative, send an email to email@example.com.
(The article is illustrated with photos: a blue beret soldier & children, UN armoured car in Haiti)