During his visit to our Conflict Management class at Champlain Abroad Dublin, Lieutenant Philip O’Leary said, “peacekeeping is not a soldier’s role, but a soldier is the only one who can do it.” He and Captain Dan Sheeran of the UN explained the irony that even the task of keeping and enforcing peace in foreign nations requires peacekeepers to be trained for war. Peacekeepers need to be skilled and ready for defense, and even offence, at any given time. This has to do with the fact that the UN Security Council needs to be prepared to defend and enforce the security of the world, which has the potential to become a heavy and complex responsibility.
Within the UN Security Council, the Charter of the United Nations outlines two contrasting chapters that may be applied to contrasting situations. While Chapter VI applies to conflicts in which both parties give consent to UN intervention, Chapter VII fits a situation in which both parties in the conflict do not give consent to UN engagement, which presents a threat for which UN peacekeepers must be prepared. Regardless of the type of situation, it is the Defense Forces’ role to “participate in UN missions in the cause of international peace.” These peacekeepers must abide by the regulations which are enforced by the “triple lock:” a three part decree consisting of UN mandate, government and legislature.
We learned that U.N. peacekeepers aren’t forced into their job—they volunteer to be deployed and work in cooperation with NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty organization. This intrinsic motivation to volunteer is what defines the peacekeepers’ inherent respect, loyalty, selflessness, physical and moral courage, and integrity in their positions. A peacekeeper, we learned, must also be flexible in nature in order to be able to adapt to the style and culture of the specific nation in which they will reside. These strong values that the peacekeepers must possess help maintain the world’s positive perception of Irish U.N. peacekeepers and allow Ireland to effectively remedy conflict between nations all over the globe.
Champlain Abroad Dublin, Spring ’14
Champlain College, Managment of Creative Media’15