This essay will argue that neutrality is a non-essential moral principal in United Nations peacekeeping and can result in further tensions, violence, and conflict. It can also lead to expensive, long-winded peace missions that do not effectively resolve issues, and has the ability to tarnish the image and reputation of the UN. There is close examination of how neutrality affected peace missions in Cyprus, Israel, Congo and Yugoslavia. There is also reference to later missions in Iraq that severely tested the resolve of UN peacekeepers. The move to multidimensional peacekeeping is relevant in today’s social structure, where the UN supports impartiality over neutrality.
Neutrality in United Nations peacekeeping operations is not an essential moral principal. Neutrality can play a destructive role in times of conflict and can indirectly result in superior parties dominating without reasonable judgement. During early peacekeeping efforts, Secretary General Daj Hammarskjold (1953-1961) was a firm believer in neutrality, however this period was also tested by intense super-power conflict, and a rise in colonial independence after a ravishing cost on imperial powers during World War II. In the twenty-first century, peacekeeping has proliferated into a multidimensional effort that seeks to restore order in internal affairs, rather than acting in a passive role of monitoring and reporting and acts on principals of impartiality to restore peace and security.
United Nations peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles including, consent of the parties; impartiality; and non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate. In closer inspection of the second principle, impartiality, the UN steers clear from associations to the definition of neutrality, preferring the former as history
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