(Resolution seeks to ensure safety of peacekeepers)  (710)

By Judy Aita

USIA United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- The U.N. Security Council has moved to bolster the safety

of the more than 100,000 United Nations soldiers and civilians under

increasing attack around the world.

Unanimously adopting a resolution on "the safety and security" of U.N.

personnel September 29, the council said that future U.N. operations will

require host governments to ensure personnel safety.

The council said that attacks and use of force against U.N. personnel will

be considered interference with council mandates and that perpetrators

1ould be punished -- though the resolution did not specify how.  If a host

country is unable or unwilling to meet its obligations to protect U.N.

personnel, the council "will consider what steps should be taken

appropriate to the situation," the resolution said.

The council also instructed Secretary General Boutros-Ghali to implement

suggestions he made on security measures in a report last month.  It called

attention to what the council will consider when deciding whether to

establish or renew the mandate of a peacekeeping mission: host country

security arrangements that include all U.N. personnel, a negotiated status

of operation agreement with the host country, and a requirement that the

host country take steps necessary to ensure the safety of the U.N. mission.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Donald McKinnon, whose nation has troops in

several peacekeeping missions, said his delegation would urge the General

Assembly to enact a new international treaty that would establish criminal

responsibility for attacks on U.N. peacekeeping and humanitarian relief


Pakistan has suffered the highest number of fatalities in Somalia and its

ambassador, Jamsheed Marker, said the resolution shows that the "council is

prepared to take necessary measures" to correct the situation.

About 80,000 peacekeepers and thousands of other civilians deliver

humanitarian aid and serve as human rights monitors and election observers

for the United Nations in 14 operations.

While primary responsibility for the safety of U.N. personnel rests with the

host government, many are incapable of carrying out that responsibility.

Peacekeeping forces are armed and authorized to use their weapons in

self-defense, and in the past year the United Nations also has authorized

its peacekeepers to use force when necessary -- to disarm violent Somali

factions and to protect council-declared safe areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

But some argue that these well-intended steps have actually increased

chances of peacekeepers becoming targets of violence.

U.N. operations face a number of other difficulties, including the hijacking

of goods and equipment in humanitarian operations.

In the past relief personnel were assured protection by virtue of their

association with the United Nations.  But "this is no longer the case,"

Boutros-Ghali said in his report to the council.  "On the contrary,

personnel are more and more often at risk because of such association."

"In addition, actions by the United Nations in one part of the globe can

generate threats to United Nations personnel in another," he said.

Casualties have mounted.  In 1992, one staff member was killed on average

every month; in 1993, the rate has been about one every two weeks.

Military personnel suffered 97 fatalities in the first half of this year --

more than 50 peacekeepers have been killed in Somalia alone.  Over the

years, 949 have died in various peacekeeping operations.

Boutros-Ghali said the United Nations is giving priority to improving

communications and training staff in security matters.  The new

peacekeeping operations center will have security staff on call at all

times, and the secretary general asked member states to provide

intelligence information about possible threats and risks for U.N.


In the long-term, he said, new international laws should be adopted relating

to the security and safety of U.N. forces and personnel.  A new

international agreement also should be drafted to codify and develop

customary international laws that would be open for signature by member


1n the short-term, he suggested that the General Assembly adopt a

declaration drawing attention to the critical importance of the security

and safety of U.N. forces and personnel.