A Novice Looks at Peacekeeping

You are a UN Humanitarian Aid worker who has recently been sent to Liberia to provide aid to women, men and children in surrounding IDP camps. Using the readings, notes from the guest lecture, and film, state what steps you think the UN must take to ensure the safety, health and well being of these communities. What information must be recorded and why? What services must be delivered, and how?

Photo credit to Marie Frechon. Found at http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-3331239203

If I were a U.N worker, moving in to Libera to provide assistance at IDP camps for women, men and children, the first thing I would do would be to keep in mind that these people have already been through hell. They are living away from their homes, they have witnessed their friends and neighbors killed, they have lost family and the last thing they need are foreigners stepping on their toes. The most important thing, in my eyes, that I can do, is to give help when needed, and to back off when not.

I would also keep in mind that the people of Libera are made up of various religions. It is important to keep records of which people are which religion. For some, religion will play a very important part in their daily lives, it will impact what they can and cannot do, or what they can and cannot eat. It is important to be aware of these factors, and to make changes and accommodations whenever possible.

Similarly for Libera, I would keep in mind that I am there after the fact. I am not a savior, but a human being offering help to another. I would keep in mind the amazing work that the women of Libera did to stop the violence. I am not the answer or the solution, but a figurative worker bee, helping to fix and heal.

I would bring food. Water. Shelter. Comfort. Set up a trade in programs for weapons, goods in exchange for guns, to get people to willingly turn in their arms. I would patrol nightly, keeping an eye on women or children who are alone, and help them to try and locate family. I would remember I am not their to “give advice,” “educate,” or anything of the like. I am their to help people who have lost everything, and the biggest help I can give is to make their time in the camps as easy as possible. I would remember I am a peacekeeper, nothing more, nothing less.

Further Reading:

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