Eastern Mediterranean University Cyprus Policy Center (EMU-CPC) organized a conference entitled “Current State of UN Peacekeeping Missions” given by Michel Bonnardeaux on December 15, 2011. Students of International Relations and European Union Studies were the main audience of this conference.
The conference commenced with the director of Cyprus Policy Center, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen, giving brief information about Michel Bonnardeaux who is the UNFICYP Spokesperson (United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus) coming from the Public Affairs Section in the Department of Peacekeeping operations (DPKO) at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
In his speech, Bonnardeaux stated that UN (United Nations) organizes international operations to maintain international peace and promote cooperation in solving international economic, social and humanitarian problems. Peacekeeping operations are not to stop wars, but they usually became operational after the war or a cease-fire. UN Member Countries do not contribute in the army to fight in wars, but they do contribute for the need which emerges after the wars.
Bonnardeaux continued his speech explaining the peacekeeping operations that “these operations are Classic Peacekeeping, NATO Operations and EU Operations”. UN works to make sure that the new emerging structure after wars can work properly to help to maintain peace and security i.e., institutions under rule of law, civilian type of police force to respect human rights.
Bonnardeaux stated that peacekeeping missions are observations that enable UN to acquire an independent opinion on relevant issues. Peacekeeping operations and missions depend on UN Security Council decisions (resolutions) which are binding on all states. He underlined that “this is how we (UNFICYP) exist”. He stated that Cyprus is not a modern peacekeeping mission, it is a classic peacekeeping between the two sides in the buffer zone and it is old.
However, peacekeepers realized that just the observation is not enough to maintain peace and security. Observation itself is like “being there and watching people die”. This is why the new UN peacekeeping missions are much more like mandates. The protection of civilians is included in the mandates as a differentiation compared to the old peacekeeping missions.
Following to the conference a question and answer session was held where the EMU students had the chance to ask questions regarding UN’s peacekeeping operations in Cyprus and elsewhere.