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  Peacekeepers in Haiti
Updated 01 March 2004, 14.30
US marines have arrived in Haiti as part of a UN peacekeeping operation.

They will be followed by a larger force, including French and Canadian troops.

What is a peacekeeping force and how does the UN use one to resolve conflicts?

Learning aims

  • Introduce the concept of conflict resolution

  • Learn that a peacekeeping force is one of a range of strategies used

  • Learn about the role of the UN
1) Icebreaker
Read the story below:

Have any of the students ever helped calm down an argument between their friends or classmates?
How did they do it?
Have they ever seen a fight broken up?
Who broke it up?
Why was it broken up?
How was it broken up?

Conflict resolution
Explain that when countries or groups of people go to war we call this conflict, and trying to stop the fighting is called conflict resolution.

2) Main activity
Who can break up armed conflicts?
Ending conflict is often attempted by using the United Nations. The UN is an organisation to which 189 countries belong. The members want the world to be a more peaceful place.

Sometimes the UN sends in troops to separate opposing groups. This is called peacekeeping.

Students act as the Security Council
They consider in small groups, or debate as a class, how to resolve conflict in Haiti.

The lesson concludes with a vote on their suggestions. Start by informing them of their options then brief them on four problems to be solved.

They must address each in turn. They do not always have to send peacekeepers.

  • Soon Haiti might get a new government: How will the UN make sure that people listen to the country's new leaders?

  • Rebel convoys have arrived in the capital city, how can you make sure the streets are safe for all Haitians?

  • Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince has a lot of armed residents now, sometimes arguments can turn into gunfights and innocent people are hurt.

  • Perhaps the rebels will attack any foreign soldiers you send in, how will you protect the peacekeepers?

4) Plenary
Why is it a good idea to resolve conflicts?
What can the UN do that individual countries cannot?
How can a peacekeeping force help?
What could go wrong when you are peacekeeping?

Teachers' Background

  • The UN was established in 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international co-operation and collective security.

  • Nearly every nation in the world is a member of the UN.

  • Of the 189 member countries there are fifteen are on the Security Council. Five of these have permanent seats and ten are elected every two years by the other countries.

When the Security Council considers that a situation is a threat to international peace it can do the following:

  • First it will try to get a peaceful solution by offering solutions or mediating between the conflicting sides, perhaps it will organise a meeting.

  • If there is already an armed conflict it will try to secure a ceasefire as soon as possible.

  • If the opposing forces need to be kept apart the UN may send a peacekeeping force, to help uphold the ceasefire.

  • If the Council's decisions need to be enforced it can order economic sanctions or ultimately it can authorise its members to use military force.

Turn this into an assembly
  • Role-play: use the school council (acting as the security council) to resolve on stage some imaginary conflicts between individuals or groups.

  • The school council come to a decision and this can then be voted on by the students and staff in the hall.

  • The first council resolution should be uncontroversial so that both parties agree and the vote is carried.

  • For the second decision the council resolution should be carried by a vote but rejected by one of the parties. How will we resolve this problem?

  • Explain about the role of the UN in peacekeeping, and the options available.

  • Finish with a vote on action to take.
Note: if students need support to vote sensibly, issue voting cards (on coloured A4).

More InfoBORDER=0
WorldPeacekeepers heading for Haiti
PicturesImages of conflict
Find OutWhat is the United Nations?
Find OutWhat is peacekeeping?


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