Hasegawa: UN peacebuilding continues to encounter aspirational challenges (11/12/2015)

 At the invitation of Professor Yasushi Katsuma, Dean, International Studies Program, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies (GSAPS) and Professor Mariko Shoji of Keiai University, Professor Hasegawa identified policy aspirations and realities on the ground in UN peace operations.

Key Points made by Professor Hasegawa at Waseda University
UN Peacebuilding: Policy and Practice or Theory and Reality
Aspirational Challenges of Peacebuilding

 Based on his experience in Cambodia 1993, Somalia 1994 and Rwanda 1995-96 and Timor-Leste 2002-06, Professor Hasegawa found aspirations and challenges held by peace builders that represented as gaps between theory and policy on one hand and reality and practice on the other hand.

1. Role of UN peace mission

 Hasegawa pointed out the transformation that took place in the role of UN peace mission during the 1990s. In Cambodia where he managed more than 500 electoral supervisors in 1993, he found the role of UN Transitional Administration in Cambodia (UNTAC) as to conduct elections and establish a government. Ten years later, the role of UN peace missions was transformed into a democracy building in Timor-Leste. The UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) was mandated not only to conduct popular consultations and elections to establish a government but also to build the foundation for democratic governance in the post-conflict country. It meant that the UN mission had to stay a long time to carry out transitional justice, instill democratic principles of governance, secure human rights and rule of law, and establish functioning free market economy.

2. Clash of national and human security

 Hasegawa then explained the result of government and international humanitarian organizations when they insisted on addressing national security and humanitarian concerns. Adherence to the principle of non-refoulement led to a massacre of thousands of internally displaced persons took place in Kibeho in 1995 when the international humanitarian agencies failed to repatriate them based on the principle of non-refoulement which forbids the rendering of victims of persecution to his or her persecutor that is normally a state actor.

3. Command and control of UN peacekeeping and police forces

 The third gap between theory and reality Professor Hasegawa cited as an example was the failure of UN peacekeeping and police forces to work together closely to suppress the anti-government riots that took place in Dili, Timor-Leste, in December 2002.

4. Transitional justice

 Hasegawa also pointed out the aspirational challenge that existed for elimination of culture of impunity through transitional justice and for the need to reconcile with perpetrators of crimes. He explained the difference between the UN representing the international community and the Timor-Leste leaders in carrying out the serious crimes trials and the truth and friendship commission.

5. Capstone and New Horizon

 UN policy, according to Hasegawa, evolved to address the security and peace building needs by adapting the principles. He explained the changes that were brought about by Capstone Doctrine and New Horizon and noted that changes that took place with the three principles of (1) consent of parties in conflict, (2) neutrality and (3) non-use of force except for self-protection. The principles now stress the importance of ensuring legitimacy, credibility and national ownership.

 In concluding his lecture, Hasegawa explained that it`s still the world of Westphalia where nation states remain sovereign and supreme in pursuing their own interest and goals. Peacekeeping military and police forces were still controlled by their own countries and not the United Nations. In conclusion, Hasegawa cited what Einstein said: “Problems we face today cannot be solved at the level of thinking we were at when we created them.”