Australia and the United Nations

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Commonwealth of Australia
Flag of the United Nations.svg Flag of Australia.svg
United Nations membership
Membership Full member
Since 1945 (1945)
UNSC seat Non-permanent
Ambassador Gary Quinlan

Australia was a founding member of the United Nations (UN) in 1945 and has been actively engaged in the organisation since its formation. The UN is seen by the Australian Government as a means to influence events which directly affect Australia's interests but over which they have little unilateral control.[1]

Diplomatic representation[edit]

UN headquarters in New York City

Australia has a permanent diplomatic mission to the UN in New York City along with missions in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi.[2] The Australian Mission is headed by an Ambassador and Permanent Representative and staffed by officers from the Department of Foreign Affairs, AusAid, the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police, as well as local employees. The Mission provides the core of Australia's delegation to UN conferences and meetings in New York, including regular and special sessions of the United Nations General Assembly. It also participates in the ongoing work of the UN's other organisations, such as the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, and follows the activities of the UN's specialised agencies and programs.

Australia is the twelfth largest financial contributor to the UN.[3] Australia contributed more than US$87 million in the years 2004 to 2006, with a regular budget of US$22.9 million, peacekeeping costs of approximately US$60 million, and over US$4 million contribution to International Tribunals.

Australia has been an elected member of the United Nations Security Council on four occasions in the past (1946–7, 1956–7, 1973–4, and 1985-6), and is currently elected to serve a term in 2013–14.[4] H. V. Evatt, a former Opposition Leader of Australia and prominent figure in the Australian Labor Party, was President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

Australian involvement in UN peacekeeping operations[edit]

Australians were the first peacekeepers to serve under United Nations auspices when they sent military observers to Indonesia in 1947 during the independence struggle.[5] About 65,000 Australian personnel have partaken in more than fifty peacekeeping operations, in about 25 different conflicts.[6] Operations include military observation, monitoring cease-fires, clearing landmines, humanitarian aid and the repatriation of refugees.

Since 1947 Australians have joined peacekeeping operations in Cambodia, Korea, Namibia, Rwanda, and Somalia among others. All three services of the Australian Defence Force, as well as police officers and civilians, have been involved in peacekeeping activities.

The most significant recent involvement from Australian peacekeeping troops is in the newly formed country of East Timor. Australia initially offered between 1,000 and 1,300 infantry, three Royal Australian Navy ships (HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla already stationed nearby, and HMAS Tobruk) along with other support capabilities.[7] Australia's involvement in East Timor is through UNMISET, the United Nations Mission of Support to East Timor, and UNOTIL, the United Nations Office in Timor Leste and UNMIT, the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste.

Australia also has peacekeepers from the Australian Defence Force participating in the United Nations Mission in Sudan, to support the African Union's Mission in Darfur.

Seven Australians have commanded or led multinational peacekeeping operations. Nine Australian peacekeepers have died on UN missions.[8]

UN Operation name UN Operation title Location Dates of Australian involvement Number of Australians involved Australian role
None[9] UN Consular Commission Indonesia 1947 4 Military observers
UNGOC[10] UN Good Offices Commission Indonesia 1947–1949 About 45 ADF personnel Monitor ceasefires and ensure the peace between Dutch and Indonesian nationalists
UNCI[10] UN Commission for Indonesia Indonesia 1949–1951 About 45 ADF personnel Monitor ceasefires and ensure the peace between Dutch and Indonesian nationalists
UNCOK[11] UN Commission on Korea Korea 1950 2 Military observers
UNMOGIP[12] UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan Kashmir 1950–1985 Up to 18 Military observers and air transport
UNCURK[13] UN Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea Korea 1951 1 Military observer
UNCMAC[14] UN Command Military Armistice Commission Korea 1953–present Originally 6, with 2 continually serving. Estimated 68 total Armistice monitoring
UNTSO[15] UN Truce Supervision Organization Israel and neighbouring Middle East countries 1956–present Up to 13. Estimated 700 total Military observers
ONUC[12] Operation des Nations Unies au Congo (UN Operation in the Congo) Congo 1960–1961 Army medical team of 3 seconded to the International Red Cross Medical team
UNTEA[12] UN Temporary Executive Authority Western New Guinea 1962–1963 4 Army pilots, 7 RAAF ground crew and 2 Sioux helicopters Cholera eradication program
UNYOM[12] UN Yemen Observation Mission Yemen 1963 2 Military observers
UNFICYP[16] UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus Cyprus 1964–present 15 Australian Federal Police officers. Estimated 1000 in total Law and order
UNIPOM[12] UN India-Pakistan Observation Mission India and Pakistan 1965–1966 3; 1 seconded from UNTSO, 2 seconded from UNMOGIP Military observers
UNDOF[12] UN Disengagement Observer Force Israel and Syria 1974 Several redeployed from UNTSO. None currently Military observers
UNEF II[17] UN Emergency Force II Sinai 1976–1979 46 RAAF detachment operating 4 UH-1 helicopters Ceasefire monitoring between Israel and Egypt
UNIFIL[12] UN Interim Force in Lebanon Lebanon 1978 A few through detachment from UNTSO Military observers
UNIIMOG[12] UN Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group Iran and Iraq 1988–1990 Up to 16 in Iran only Military observers
UNBRO[12] UN Border Relief Operation Thailand/Cambodia border 1989–1993 2 Federal Police Law and order, and police training
UNTAG[18] UN Transition Assistance Group Namibia 1989–1990 613 in two rotations; 28 electoral supervisors Engineering support and election supervision
UNMCTT[12] UN Mine Clearance Training Team Afghanistan and Pakistan 1989–1993 10 teams of 6–9 Army field engineers. Estimated 95 total Demining
UNSCOM[19] UN Special Commission Iraq 1991–1999 Between 2–6 ADF personnel on 3–6 month tours. Estimated total 96 Inspection of Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons capabilities
MINURSO[20] Mission des Nations Unies pour un Referendum au Sahara Occidental (UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) Western Sahara 1991–1994 5 45 person contingents. Total 225 Communications
UNAMIC[21] UN Advance Mission in Cambodia Cambodia 1991–1992 65 Military observers, signals and support
UNTAC[21] UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia Cambodia 1992–1993 Up to 1,215 ADF personnel Force Communications Unit
UNOSOM I[22] UN Operation in Somalia Somalia 1992–1993 30 Movement control unit
UNITAF[22] Unified Task Force Somalia 1992–1993 About 1,200. 1 Royal Australian Regiment Battalion Group, HQ group, and HMAS Tobruk Protecting delivery of humanitarian aid, law and order, and establishing functional legal, social and economic systems
UNPROFOR[12] UN Protection Force in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia Former Yugoslavia 1992 Several Military observers and liaison
UNOSOM II[22] UN Operation in Somalia II Somalia 1993–1995 36 Movements and Air Traffic Control Staff, 12 man Ready Reaction Security Team (mainly SAS) and HQ staff. 50 personnel per tour, about 250 in total Movement control unit, HQ staff, security
UNAMIR II[23] UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda Rwanda 1994–1995 More than 600 in 2 contingents Medical, infantry protection, support troops
ONUMOZ[24] UN Operation in Mozambique Mozambique 1994 15 police, 4 ADF Police and demining
MINUGUA[12] UN Verification Mission in Guatemala Guatemala 1997 1 Military observer
UNAMET[25] UN Mission in East Timor East Timor 1999 50 police, 6 military liaison officers Facilitating referendum
INTERFET[25] International Force East Timor under UN mandate East Timor 1999–2000 5,500 Establishing security, facilitating humanitarian aid and reconstruction
UNTAET[25] UN Transitional Administration in East Timor East Timor 2000–2002 Up to 2,000 maintaining security, facilitating reconstruction
UNMEE[26] United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea Ethiopia and Eritrea 2000–present 2 ADF officers, 16 in total Training mission personnel and mapping
UNMISET[27] UN Mission of Support in East Timor East Timor 2002–2005 Up to 1,600 Maintaining security, facilitating reconstruction
UNMOVIC[28] UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq Iraq 2002–2003 A few trained, not deployed Weapons inspectors
UNAMA[29] UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Afghanistan 2003–2004 1 Military advisor
UNMIS (Operation Azure)[30] United Nations Mission in the Sudan Sudan 2005–present 15 Military observers, logistics, air movement controllers
UNOTIL (Operation Tower)[31] United Nations Office in Timor-Leste East Timor 2005–present About 17 Military and police support

Australia-UN relations in 2008[edit]

In March 2008, senior United Nations officials travelled to Canberra to meet Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, elected three months earlier. According to The Age, the aim was to "repair relations". Hilde Johnson, deputy director of UNICEF, stated that Rudd was showing "stronger support" for the United Nations and multilateralism than his predecessor John Howard had.[32] During Howard's Prime Ministership, UN high commissioner for human rights Mary Robinson had criticised Australia's human rights record. Johnson stated that the new Australian government had "explicitly said there's going to be a change, that the government will engage strongly and pro-actively with the UN". For the Australian government, Bob McMullan said that his country's "relationship with the major multi-lateral organisations has deteriorated in a manner that is quite contrary to Australia's long-term interests and needs to be repaired".[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Australia and the United Nations". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 5 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  2. ^ "Overview". Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations. Archived from the original on 28 November 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2007. 
  3. ^ "Message from the Ambassador HE the Hon Robert Hill". Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations. Retrieved 19 March 2007. 
  4. ^ "GA/11303 – General Assembly Elects Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea, Rwanda as Non-Permanent Members of Security Council". United Nations Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Speech by the Prime Minister, the Hon P.J Keating MP: The 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Australia and a World Without Nuclear Weapons, Parliament House, Canberra, 24 October 1995". Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2007. 
  6. ^ "History of Peacekeeping". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2007. 
  7. ^ "Aust to send troops to E Timor". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 24 May 2006. Archived from the original on 8 April 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2007. 
  8. ^ Department of Veterans' Affairs. Australian Peacekeeping Operations
  9. ^ "Peacekeepers in Indonesia – Then and Now". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  10. ^ a b Copeland, Paul (2002). "United Nations Good Offices Commission (UNGOC) in the Dutch East Indies & United Nations Commission for Indonesia (UNCI)". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  11. ^ Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Commission on Korea (UNCOK): 1948–1950". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Summary of Australian Participation in Peacekeeping Missions". Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  13. ^ "James Plimsoll and UNCURK". Out in the Cold, Australia's involvement in the Korean War. Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 25 December 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  14. ^ Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) : 1953 – present". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  15. ^ Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO): 1948 – present". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  16. ^ "Cyprus Country Brief". Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Archived from the original on 31 March 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  17. ^ "Middle East – UNEF II Background, Composition and Strength". United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  18. ^ Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG): 1989–1990". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  19. ^ Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Special Commission (UNSCOM)". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  20. ^ Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, 1991 – 1994, OPERATION CEDILLA". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  21. ^ a b Sawyer, Greg (2002). "UN Advanced Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC)/UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) 1991–1993". UNSW United Nations Society. Archived from the original on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  22. ^ a b c "Somalia 1993–1996". ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee (Qld) Incorporated. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  23. ^ "The senseless slaughter". Army – The Soldiers' Newspaper. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  24. ^ "United Nations Operation in Mozambique". George Mason University, Peace Operations Policy Program. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  25. ^ a b c "Australians and Peacekeeping, East Timor". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 6 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  26. ^ "Australia’s Contribution to United Nations Operation in Ethiopia and Eritrea Ends". Senator the Hon. Robert Hill, Minister for Defence, Leader of the Government in the Senate, Australian Defence Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary Media Release. Retrieved 27 March 2007. [dead link]
  27. ^ "East Timor Operation Citadel". Australian Government, Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 4 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  28. ^ Statement by Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr John Dauth, LVO (16 October 2002). "United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Iraq". Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Archived from the original on 5 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  29. ^ Statement by H.E. Caroline Millar Ambassador and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of Australia to the United Nations (14 March 2006). "Security Council, The Situation in Afghanistan". Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  30. ^ "About Operation Azure". Australian Government Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  31. ^ "About Operation Tower". Australian Government Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 23 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007. 
  32. ^ "UN bid to mend fences with Canberra", Sarah Smiles, The Age, 17 March 2008
  33. ^ ibid

External links[edit]