United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions are ubiquitous on the African continent despite growing critiques of inefficacy. Peacekeepers work in cooperation with African military troops with increasingly broad mandates including civilian protection, counterinsurgency operations, and counterterrorism, among others. UN peacekeeping missions in places like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Côte d’Ivoire have been hailed as successes, yet UN troops’ ground activities on the ground have been heavily questioned.
Since the first mission in 1948, UN peacekeeping missions have evolved drastically but the main goal has always been disarmament demobilization and securing peace on the ground. By May 2015, 80 percent of UN peacekeepers were deployed on the African continent (80,000 troops) to take part in nine UN peacekeeping missions. Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan have sent the most troops on these African missions, while the United States, Japan, and France have been the top funders.
UN peacekeepers, also known as ‘Blue Helmets,’ have served as observers as well as soldiers, sometimes engaging in combat without a government’s consent. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan mandated reforms aimed at improving UN peacekeeping mission efficiency with broader responsibilities, including the use of force.
Source: Global Voices