With Peacekeepers, Brazilian military personnel act in 7 of the 12 current peace missions

Agência Força Aérea, Aspirante Eniele Santos and Major Oliveira Lima

In order to serve as an instrument to help countries devastated by conflicts and create conditions for peace to be achieved there, peace missions make it possible to implement agreements that seek harmony among nations, thus assisting not only in security, but also in social and political issues, such as building hospitals, encouraging respect for human rights, holding democratic elections, training military personnel, and supporting the return of refugees and displaced populations. It is in this sense that the term Peacekeeping is so widespread, since it is a way of resolving international conflicts.

The United Nations Organization (UN) established May 29th as Peacekeepers Day in 2002, alluding to the first UN-backed peacekeeping mission, started in 1948, in Palestine. It was the beginning of a trajectory of more than 70 missions of this nature, involving military, civilian, and police forces.

Peacekeepers are often called Peace Soldiers or Blue Helmets, in reference to the color of the protective equipment used by military personnel who work in peace missions conducted by the UN.

Brazil in Peace Operations

Brazil has occupied a prominent position in peace operations under the aegis of the United Nations, participating in 7 of the 12 current UN missions. Around 250 Brazilian military, from the Armed Forces and police, participate in operations all over the world: in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Republic of Sudan, Western Sahara, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others. Some of its tasks are the distribution of food and water, hostage rescue and protection of civilians, with the use of force allowed only in cases of self-defense.

Currently, FAB is active in the United Nations Mission for the Organization of a Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), where the Organization has maintained a mission since 1991, with the objective of monitoring a peace agreement between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which seeks the independence of the Western Sahara territory.

As a military observer in MINURSO, Air Lieutenant Colonel Pablo Fontes fulfilled the role of verifying that both parties to the conflict were respecting the ceasefire, in accordance with the mission’s mandate. “After six months, I was assigned to the south of the mission and to the Moroccan side, in the Team Site Awsard region, performing the same function, which is to verify and verify that the parties are complying with all the rules of the agreement,” said the Brazilian Air Force officer who served as a military observer on the African continent from 2014 to 2015.

Western Sahara is a region controlled and administered by Morocco since the so-called Green March – protests held in 1975 that forced Spain to leave the territory. After years of civil war with the political-revolutionary movement in favor of autonomy in the region, a UN mission was installed in the Polisario Front, which is a region where a resistance movement to Moroccan domination was instituted.

*** Translated by DEFCONPress Team***

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