Stand Up For Those Who Stand the Line

January 27, 2014| by Chris Whatley, UNA-USA Executive Director

2013 was a tough year for the world — a year for the UN to prove itself more than ever.  It was a year in which the UN showed its ability to respond nimbly to unfolding crises around the globe, from the humanitarian response to Typhoon Hainan to the critical role that peacekeepers are playing in containing and even reversing conflicts in some of the toughest corners of the world.  However, just as peacekeeping is proving its worth, Congress and the Administration have decided to cut U.S. support for UN peacekeeping by 12 percent.    

In South Sudan, UN peacekeepers are working to keep a spiraling conflict from devolving into genocide.  In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN peacekeeping “intervention brigade” with a mandate to directly support the Congolese military has quelled a brutal insurgency.  Meanwhile, the UN peacekeeping force in Mali — authorized by the Security Council after Mali-based insurgents killed three Americans in a brazen terrorist attack—has, along with French forces, placed Al Qaida-aligned rebels on the defensive and is restoring civilian rule.  

Despite these successes, the 2014 federal spending bill newly signed into law reduces U.S. support for peacekeeping by roughly $400 million.  This cut has major implications for the UN’s 15 peacekeeping operations and 116,000 deployed blue helmets around the world.  Even as we are asking the UN to do more to advance our own national interests as well as the worlds’, we are removing tools and resources they need to respond.

Moments like this define the role of UNA-USA as a grassroots organization.  It is time for Americans who believe in the fundamental peacemaking role of the UN to stand up for those who stand on the line in the most dangerous regions of the world. 

If you share this belief, please join us in adding your voice of support for UN peacekeeping by following this link and sending a letter to your Congressional delegation.