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Brussels, November 2007

Activities: UN missions in El Salvador and East Timor

ONUSAL, the UN mission in El Salvador, was engaged in all three peace strategies.

Keywords: El Salvador |

The monitors spread throughout the country, established regional offices and creating a very wide range of contacts with all sides to the conflict. Their activities included peacekeeping tasks also found in other missions, such as:

  • Monitoring and verifying human rights violations by reporting on abuses (after they occurred);

  • Monitoring of reduction of armed forces (completed by end of January 1993);

After the conclusion of the Peace Accord, ONUSAL played an active role assisting in negotiations, e.g. on demobilization of the FMLN and more equitable distribution of land by the government, broad political participation, and wide recruitment into the new National Civil Police force.

In addition they engaged in a wide range of activities that would fall under the category of peacebuilding:

  • Offering human rights education to the military and the general public;

  • Monitoring the introduction of a new Armed Forces Reserve System;

  • Assisting the restructuring of the police;

  • Supervising the clearing of minefields;

  • Monitoring the situation affecting ex-combatants.

The observers of UNAMET in East Timor were also deployed throughout the country (1). But apparently their main activity concentrated on preparations for the elections and not on controlling the violence, other than monitoring the registration and voting stations, and collecting weapons on a voluntary basis from militia members. Their main task was to educate the population on the referendum through the production and distribution of voter education material.

Registration for the referendum was postponed twice because of the security situation, but eventually commenced in the middle of July. The registration centres were managed and monitored by UNAMET, and turn-out was very good in spite of the still-unsecured situation (451,792 voters, whereas the UN originally expected only 400,000 eligible voters).

When UNAMET staff themselves became victims of violent attacks or threats, they reported on these threats and complained to the Indonesian security forces (2).

Notes :

  • (1) : UN chronology (see above)

  • (2) : Around the end of June, a regional officer, a humanitarian convoy accompanied by an UNAMET officer and a local representative of UNHCR were attacked. Furthermore, UNAMET staff in another place received threats.