UN peacekeeping operations are deployed on the basis of mandates from the United Nations Security Council. Over the years, the range of tasks assigned to UN peacekeeping operations has expanded significantly in response to shifting patterns of conflict and to best address threats to international peace and security.
Members of the Permanent Defence Force serve on missions under Chapter VI and Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
Peacekeeping operations mounted under Chapter VI are of the traditional type where the UN acts as a monitoring, patrolling and observing force after peace has been established.
Chapter VII of the UN Charter is entitled “Action with respect to threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression”. Under this Chapter the UN Security Council is mandated to take whatever action “as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security”. Peacekeeping operations mounted under this Chapter are commonly known as peace enforcement operations where the consent of the parties is not required.
In recent years in response to the requirement for a more robust mandate, there has been a significant increase in the deployment of peacekeeping troops under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. EU-led and UN led missions in Chad, UN led mission in Liberia, International Security Presence in Kosovo, EU-led Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan are recent examples.
It should be noted that any decision by Ireland to participate in an overseas operation, which may be led by the EU, UN or NATO would be subject to our national sovereign decision-making procedures - “Triple Lock”, i.e. UN mandate, Government and Dáil approval, where appropriate.