Earlier this month, WFMC, Artistes pour la Paix. Canadian Pugwash, Project Ploughshares, and the Rideau Institute sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau urging him to renew Canada’s commitment to UN peacekeeping, in particular through a substantive contribution to the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Included with the letter was a two page brief by WFMC President Dr Walter Dorn explaining in more detail why the mission in Mali is a good fit for Canada, including:
- Peace Process: Mali has a viable, though fragile, peace process that desperately requires support. Several major armed groups have agreed to cease their rebellion, giving up on their aspiration for an independent state in exchange for peace and greater prosperity. Those peace accords need capable peacekeepers to verify and support their implementation. Canada is already heavily invested in the peace process.
- Terrorism: Mali is experiencing an ongoing threat from armed groups practicing terrorist tactics. International counter-terrorism missions are also currently operating in Mali. MINUSMA provides an essential and peaceful path to deal with terrorism, including by facilitating disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR). Canadian capabilities would bolster the success of such efforts.
- Protection: MINUSMA’s protection of civilians (POC) mandate needs reinforcement. A Canadian Quick Reaction Force would help considerably and buttress the efforts of troop contributing countries from the developing and developed world. Germany, Norway and Sweden would welcome Canada to rejoin the mission. While Mali has reported only a few cases of COVID-19, MINUSMA has put in place measures to protect peacekeepers from the virus. It has delayed rotating troops until after July.
The WFMC TakeAction email earlier this month provided a template for a letter that supporters can send to the Prime Minister, asking that Canada make provision for a renewed personnel commitment to the peace support operation in Mali, including the Quick Reaction Force – something that Canada has pledged in support of UN operations but not yet deployed.More information is available on the website of the Canadians for Peacekeeping project, including monthly updates on Canada’s commitments and current deployments.