Return to: Index of "World Conference on Women Press Releases and Statements"
Index of "Intl. Organizations and Conferences" || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage



U. S. Department of State 
95/08/11 Focus: UN Peacekeeping: Successes Span the Globe
Bureau of Public Affairs 


                                   Focus on the UN
                      UN Peacekeeping:  Successes Span the Globe 

 
 
UN peace operations are useful and cost-effective options for addressing 
some conflicts and humanitarian crises, a lesson currently overshadowed 
by the difficult challenges faced by UN peacekeeping operations in the 
former Yugoslavia. The majority of the 35 peacekeeping operations 
undertaken by the UN during the past 50 years have played a valuable 
role in containing regional conflicts, promoting democracy, and 
monitoring human rights. They have helped stem refugee flows and brought 
stability to regions of strategic and economic importance to the U.S. 
Recent peacekeeping successes include Mozambique, El Salvador, Cambodia, 
and Namibia, all countries where the UN helped bring long, bloody 
conflicts to an end and then assisted in the establishment of more 
democratic and stable governments. 
 
UN Operations in Mozambique (ONUMOZ)
 
ONUMOZ was established in December 1992 to assist in the implementation 
of the peace agreement between the Government of Mozambique and the 
opposition group RENAMO. Mozambique's post-independence civil war from 
1976 to 1992 claimed an estimated 1 million lives, destroyed the 
country's infrastructure and agricultural capacity, and forced millions 
of refugees into neighboring countries. ONUMOZ monitored the cease-fire 
and demobilization of troops and provided security for humanitarian 
assistance. ONUMOZ's presence bolstered security and confidence as the 
terms of the peace accords were implemented and democratic elections 
held. National elections, held in October 1994, were declared free and 
fair by the UN. Close to 90% of eligible voters turned out at the polls. 
Both sides accepted the results of the vote. 
 
ONUMOZ's mandate ended with the installation of the newly elected 
national government in December 1994, and all UN forces were withdrawn 
as of January 31, 1995. In Mozambique, the UN succeeded in demobilizing 
bitter military foes, repatriating refugees, and creating a climate 
within which democratic elections could be held. In so doing, it 
contributed to greater stability throughout the southern African region, 
setting an example for ongoing UN efforts to resolve Angola's long civil 
war. 
 
[Box]

ONUMOZ 
Mandate: To ensure the implementation of the general peace agreement, to 
monitor elections, and to provide humanitarian aid 
Duration: December 1992 to January 31, 1995 
Successes: Free and fair elections held October 1994; reintegration of 3 
million internally displaced persons prior to the elections 
Costs: Through November 15, 1994--about $106 million 

[End box]

 
UN Observer Mission In El Salvador (ONUSAL)
 
ONUSAL was established by the UN Security Council in May 1991, and 
launched two months later, to monitor the human rights agreement between 
the Government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Marti National 
Liberation Front (FMLN). An estimated 55,000 Salvadorans were killed in 
El Salvador's civil war from 1979 to 1991. With the signing of the peace 
accords that ended the war in January 1992, ONUSAL's mandate was 
expanded to include monitoring the cease-fire, separating combatants, 
observing the dismantling of the FMLN military structure, assisting with 
the reintegration of the FMLN into civilian society, training the 
National Civilian Police, and observing elections. 
 
Though resistance to land reform and legal reform delayed the peace 
process, ONUSAL ultimately played a key role in facilitating the 
implementation of the peace accords. El Salvador has since made 
substantial progress toward democratization and political stability. 
ONUSAL completed its mission on April 30, 1995. 
 
[Box]

ONUSAL 
Mandate: To monitor all agreements between the Government of El Salvador 
and the FMLN 
Duration: July 1991 to April 30, 1995 
Successes: Implementation of the  peace accords; demobilization of the 
military-controlled national policy 
Costs: About $24 million  

[End Box]

 
UN Transitional Authority In Cambodia (UNTAC)
 
In March 1992, UNTAC began working toward the establishment of democracy 
in Cambodia in the aftermath of two decades of violent conflict and 
chaos, including the extraordinarily brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge. 
UNTAC's mandate included the demobilization of warring parties, 
organization of free and fair elections, the maintenance of law and 
order, the repatriation of Cambodian refugees, and the re-establishment 
of essential infrastructure. The human rights component of UNTAC 
developed and implemented an education program to promote respect for 
and understanding of human rights. This effort was followed by the 
establishment of a UN Human Rights Commission field office in Phnom Penh 
that is working with the elected government to continue the promotion of 
human rights. 
 
UNTAC's mandate ended with the formation of the Royal Cambodian 
Government based on the elections of May 1993, certified free and fair 
by the UN. The formation of the elected government marked a successful 
end to what was at the time the largest UN peacekeeping mission ever 
undertaken. 

 
[Box]

UNTAC 
Mandate: To assist in establishing a democratic government 
in Cambodia 
Duration: March 1992 to May 1993  
Successes: Implementation of a human rights education program; design 
and implementation of an electoral system followed by the free and fair 
election of the Royal Cambodian Government 
Costs: About $1.6 billion  

[End box]

 
UN Transition Assistance Group In Namibia (UNTAG)
 
The UN was centrally engaged in Namibia's transition from civil war and 
domination by South Africa to peace and democracy. The UN Security 
Council had drawn attention to the illegality of South Africa's 70-year 
occupation of Namibia, and behind the scenes had long worked toward the 
1989 cease-fire between the South West African People's Organization 
(SWAPO), a Namibian nationalist movement, and South Africa. Once the 
negotiations were complete, UNTAG monitored the cease-fire and the 
withdrawal of South African forces and helped build the framework for 
democratic elections. 
 
A major challenge for UNTAG was increasing the confidence of the 
Namibian people in the political process so that they would actively 
participate in and exercise a free choice in electing a new government.  
UNTAG established an information service designed to bolster confidence 
in the mission's neutrality and to spread information about the upcoming 
elections. The service proved very effective. In November 1989, 97% of 
Namibia's registered voters participated in the country's first 
democratic elections. A few weeks later, the newly elected Constituent 
Assembly convened and on February 9, 1990, a new constitution was 
adopted. UNTAG's mission ended in March 1990. 
 

[Box]

UNTAG 
Mandate: To ensure free and fair elections in Namibia 
Duration: April 1989 to March 1990 
Successes: Enhanced credibility of political transition process; 
repatriation of 42,736 exiled Namibians; free and fair election of the 
Namibian Government 
Costs: $383 million 

[End Box]
To the top of this page