Letter to Justin Trudeau re the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
7 April 2020

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

The organizations below urge that Canada renew its commitment to UN peacekeeping, in particular through a substantive contribution to the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

This is a crucial time for MINUSMA. The UN Department of Peace Operations has announced new mission requirements to implement the Force Adaptation Plan. That Plan calls for certain capabilities that Canada is well positioned to offer. This includes helicopters (both Chinooks and Griffons, that Canada provided once before), monitoring capabilities, and rapidly deployable units. At a time when MINUSMA is under practical and financial pressures, Canada can help achieve the mission’s important objectives, which include buttressing a still-fragile peace process, supporting democratic governance in Mali, blunting the influence of terrorist groups and spoilers, strengthening national police capacities, and (not least) protecting civilians.

A contribution at this crucial time would help show that Canadian support for peacekeeping is constant and dependable, long-term and not episodic. We are encouraged by the Government of Canada’s often expressed support for multilateralism and a rules-based international order (RBIO). We assert that the surest way to create a better and sustained RBIO is through a well-functioning UN system. Canada pioneered the concept of peacekeeping forces and needs now to support it. As Lester B. Pearson said in his Nobel peace prize speech in 1957:

“We made at least a beginning then. If, on that foundation, we do not build something more permanent and stronger, we will once again have ignored realities, rejected opportunities, and betrayed our trust. Will we never learn?”

Canada did learn and, for four decades, continuously provided about 1,000 uniformed personnel for UN peacekeeping. If Canada is not able to renew to such a level, at least it can reach the numbers your government promised in 2016: up to 600 military personnel and 150 police officers. Furthermore, at the 2017 Vancouver ministerial, Canada pledged a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) for UN service but has yet to fulfil that promise. The QRF would make a substantial contribution to MINUSMA.

A renewed Canadian contribution to UN peacekeeping would support Canada’s bid for a Security Council seat.

We recognize that these are uniquely challenging times for Canada and the world. We urge that Canada make provision for a renewed personnel commitment to the peace support operation in Mali, including with the pledged but yet to be registered QRF. Canada can be quick and committed.

Thank you for considering this.

Sincerely,

Artistes pour la Paix
Prof. Pierre Jasmin jasmin.pierre@uqam.ca

Canadian Pugwash Group
Paul Meyer, Chair pmeyer@sfu.ca

Project Ploughshares
Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director cjaramillo@ploughshares.ca

Rideau Institute
Peggy Mason, President pmason@rideauinstitute.ca

World Federalist Movement – Canada
Prof. Walter Dorn, National President walter.dorn@rmc.ca