PORT DICKSON: Peacekeeping operations have become more challenging as the United Nations mandates have grown broader and become much complex.
Malaysian Joint Force Headquarters chief-of-staff Major-General Fazal Abdul Rahman said that additionally, peacekeeping missions had been given staggering tasks and wide-ranging responsibilities.
“Perhaps, the traditional form of peacekeeping operations in monitoring ceasefire agreements are not always effective, due to the contemporary security environment that has become increasingly difficult to characterise.
“Armed conflicts and civil movements have taken place in most mission areas.
“There is also an evolving threat of violent extremism, transnational terrorism and organised crime which brings about unimaginable collateral damage.
“This has created a need for peacekeepers to be involved in the security and protection of civilians from terrorist groups and criminal gangs, particularly in protecting women and children who are the most vulnerable to become victims,” Fazal said at the closing ceremony of the ‘Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise 2023’ and ‘Exercise Keris Aman II’ at the Army Training and Doctrine command headquarters.
Present were United States Indo-Pacific Command training and exercises director Brig-General Michael Drowley, Joint Force assistant chief-of-staff Major-General Datuk Nur Hafis Abdul Karim and First Infantry Brigade commander Brig-General Mohamad Noorlizam Shamsuddin.
Fazal said that peacekeeping operations now require a wide range of military activities with the host country’s institutions, social and community services, personal negotiations and interactions with the local community.
“Current training must put great emphasis on soft-skills of communication, gender and cultural awareness to facilitate working together.
“Peacekeeping personnel come from diverse organisations and nations who must coordinate together.
“Diversity in militaries, police forces and civil organisations, along with gender and culture (nationalities, ethnicities and religions) make communication and cooperation difficult, yet vital to achieve peace.
“Experiential learning through role-plays such as the global peace operations initiative’s multinational peacekeeping exercise is the best way to improve soft-skills,” he said.
Fazal added that the collective experiences gained from multinational exercises are far beyond what could have been obtained on one’s own.
“It has provided us with priceless exposures, experiences and lessons that will be a guiding platform to enhance our capabilities and continuously prepare for any uncertainties.
“Besides ensuring peacekeepers maintain the highest standards of conduct, raising awareness of empathy is equally important,
“The ability to walk a mile in another’s shoes permits a peacekeeper to understand the emotions that local communities feel.
“Our capacity to perceive and resonate with others’ sufferings allows us to feel and understand their pain,” Fazal said.
He felt that empathy must play a role when a lack of emotion existed because of racial, ethnic, religious or physical difference.
“I deeply feel that empathy has a key role in global peace operations,” he said.
On ‘Exercise Keris Aman II’ held on Aug 13-26, Fazal believed that it had served as a platform for all to meet increasing peace support operational requirements and develop indigenous peacekeeping capacities of participating nations – Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Fiji, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay and Vietnam – with a total of 849 participants.
“In this rather short period, we have been presented the opportunity to enhance both individually and collectively the knowledge, skills and attitudes to meet the evolving challenges of UN peacekeeping operations.
“These are in accordance with principles, policies, guidelines and lessons learned from the field.
“The ultimate aim is to prepare you to work through the multitude of difficult situations you will encounter as peacekeepers,” Fazal said.
Meanwhile, Drowley said that ‘Exercise Keris Aman II’ was one of the largest annual international peacekeeping field training exercises in the world.
The exercise consisted of UN peacekeeping operations staff training, field training and a critical enabler capability enhancement event, all of which focused on UN and international peacekeeping and stability operations.
“For the peacekeepers and peacekeeper trainers that have traveled from 19 countries, I thank you and your governments for your commitment and efforts supporting the cause of peace.
“This exercise will better prepare you to train your fellow peacekeepers at your national training centres.
“It is only because like-minded partners who seek peace and stability are committed to face these threats that we are able to come together to increase global security and defend a rules-based order that provides opportunity for all,” Drowley said.
During the exercise, Malaysian, US and other partner nation forces worked together to enhance interoperability and mission effectiveness in common tactics, techniques, and procedures in accordance with UN doctrine with the objective of furthering UN peacekeeping troop performance and regional peace operations. – airtimes.my