UNMOGIP valuable in ‘frozen conflict’ areas: UN official
United Nations, May 03: A senior UN peacekeeping official has rejected assertion that missions such as the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) are doing nothing, saying they are valuable and performing on the basis of ground realities in “frozen conflict” areas.
Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita was asked during a press briefing here about “frozen conflicts” where peacekeeping missions stay forever.
She was asked about missions such as UNMOGIP, United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golaan Heights and that these missions are “sitting there doing nothing”.
India maintains that UNMOGIP has “outlived its relevance” after the Simla Agreement was signed by India and Pakistan in July 1972 and the consequent establishment of the LoC.
Keita was asked how these frozen conflicts can be addressed and mandates reactivated to achieve results.
The question that should be asked is “if they were not there, what would happen,” Keita said.
She said the “rhetoric that because there is no peace process moving then they are doing nothing, I would say that we would need to reframe this because all the reduction of violence, which can escalate actually, they are dealt with by the peacekeepers, by the mission.”
Keita said all these UN peacekeeping missions have their value and they are “rendering and performing on the basis of what is going on there.”
She stressed that the missions are “frozen because of the dynamics that are going on at the local, regional, sub-regional (levels), which have to do with politics and the mission is a tool at one point to support the political process.”
Keita underscored that ways would have to be found to right the underlying causes of the conflict and “not what I will call sometime using the mission as a scapegoat because it is a shared responsibility so the performance of the mission has to be looked at with the performance of all the stakeholders.”
The UN has long maintained an institutional presence in the contested area between India and Pakistan. According to the Security Council mandate given in resolution 307 of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the two countries in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.
UNMOGIP was established in January 1949, while UNFICYP was founded in 1964, UNIFIL in 1978 and UNDOF in 1974.
As of March this year, a total of 113 personnel are deployed with UNMOGIP, including 71 civilians and 42 experts on mission.