Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali took office in an air of general euphoria over the accomplishments of the United Nations in the post-Cold War era. However, his first two years in office witnessed the proliferation of intractable and appalling regional conflicts in Haiti, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, among others. The multiplicity and savagery of these conflicts cast a pall on the much hoped-for "new world order" which the end of the Cold War had inspired.
Soon after Boutros-Ghali's inauguration, in January 1992, the Security Council met in its first-ever summit session, at which the heads of states of all the members of the council convened in New York, in person. On 31 January 1992, they requested that the secretary-general submit to the Security Council "an analysis and recommendations on ways of strengthening and making more efficient within the framework and provisions of the Charter the capacity of the United Nations for preventive diplomacy, for peacemaking and for peacekeeping." Boutros-Ghali's An Agenda for Peace set forth an analysis of the world organization's new situation at a time of global transition with respect to international peace and security. This document is more fully explained in the chapter on International Peace and Security.
In May 1994, Boutros-Ghali responded to a 1992 request of the General Assembly to submit a similar report on development under the agenda item "Development and International Economic Cooperation." He declared that development was not only a fundamental human right, but also the most secure basis for peace. Although the UN had accomplished remarkable achievements in many areas, it was undeniable that after decades of efforts to assist the developing world, the poorest nations were falling even further behind, strangled by debt and social upheaval. Boutros-Ghali said that, although concerns had been expressed that the United Nations put greater emphasis on peacekeeping than development, the numbers of staff and the regular budgetary allocations did not support this fear. He posited that development could not proceed without a fundamental basis in peace, and went on to describe the ideal evolution of a peacekeeping/humanitarian aid operation into a situation of sustainable development.
Boutros-Ghali further maintained that protection of the environment was another fundamental concept for development. "In the developing world, ecological pressure threatens to undermine long-term development. Among many countries in transition, decades of disregard for the environment have left large areas poisoned and unable to sustain economic activity in the long term. Among the wealthiest nations, consumption patterns are depleting world resources in ways that jeopardize the future of world development," observed Boutros-Ghali. The concept of "sustainable development," as elaborated by UNCED in 1992, had to be strengthened as a guiding principle of development. Social justice and democracy were posited as the other pillars of a successfully developing country.
Elected in UN-supervised elections in December 1990 and deposed by a military coup in September 1991, Haiti's President Jean-Bertrand Aristide turned to the United Nations and the Organization of American States for assistance. In its Resolution 46/7 (September 1991), the General Assembly strongly condemned the "attempted illegal replacement of the Constitutional President of Haiti" and demanded that President Aristide be restored to power. It requested that the secretary-general cooperate with the Organization of American States (OAS) to restore the legally elected government in Haiti. A trade embargo and a halt to bilateral assistance were imposed on the illegal government, but there was little progress in negotiations. In December 1992, the secretary-general appointed Dante Caputo as Special Envoy for Haiti. The OAS also endorsed Caputo in January 1993. In its Resolution 47/20B (20 April 1993), the General Assembly mandated a joint UN/OAS International Civilian Mission to Haiti (known by its French acronym, MICIVIH) to be deployed throughout Haiti to report on the human rights situation there. On 16 June 1993, the Security Council imposed sanctions on Haiti. In July, talks were held on Governors Island, New York, and an agreement reached on specific measures relating to the return of President Aristide. In August 1993, the Security Council passed a resolution (862/1993) approving the dispatch of an advance team to prepare the way for the UN Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) which would supervise the transition. On 25 August 1993, the Haitian parliament ratified President Aristide's appointment of Robert Malval as prime minister-delegate during the transition period, as provided by the Governors Island Agreement. The Security Council then suspended the sanctions against Haiti.
On 27 September, the Security Council approved the deployment of UNMIH. However, on 11 October, armed civilians (known as "attachés") prevented the mission from debarking upon its arrival in Haiti. The attachés were known to be terrorizing the population through assassinations, attacks on the offices of the prime minister, and a general strike against UNMIH. It was also reported that police had facilitated, and in some cases participated in, these actions.
It became apparent that the military government was reneging on its promises under the Governors Island Agreement. On 13 October 1993, the Security Council reimposed its oil and arms embargo. That same month, most of the personnel of MICIVIH were evacuated, leaving a small administrative team to report on the alarming violence and violations of human rights being perpetuated, particularly against supporters of President Aristide.
In May 1994, the Security Council imposed expanded sanctions on Haiti, including a ban on commercial air travel. On 31 August 1994, the Security Council, in its resolution 940 (1994), authorized the use of a multinational force similar to the one used to repel Iraq from Kuwait. Specifically, the Security Council authorized UN members to: "form a multinational force under unified command and control and, in this framework, to use all necessary means to facilitate the departure from Haiti of the military leadership, consistent with the Governors Island Agreement, the prompt return of the legitimately elected President and the restoration of the legitimate authorities of the Government of Haiti, and to establish and maintain a secure and stable environment that will permit implementation of the Governors Island Agreement, on the understanding that the cost of implementing this temporary operation will be borne by the participating Member States." By the same resolution, the Security Council approved the eventual deployment of the 6,000-strong UNMIH force to assist with the restoration of democracy in Haiti.
The multinational force succeeded in landing in Haiti without significant bloodshed, pursuant to a last-minute negotiation headed by former United States President Jimmy Carter at the request of current President Bill Clinton. By October 1994 President Aristide was able to safely return to Haiti. On 16 November 1995 the Security Council commended UNMIH on the substantial progress it had made towards fulfilling its mandate as set out in Resolution 940 in 1994. After a phased reduction of the military and civilian police personnel, 4,000 military and 300 civilian police remained in the mission area by February 1996.
The downfall of Somalia's President Siad Barre in January 1991 resulted in a power struggle and clan warfare in many parts of Somalia. In November 1991, the fighting intensified causing widespread death and destruction, and forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes. Almost 4.5 million people in Somalia—over half the estimated population—were threatened by severe malnutrition. It was estimated that as many as 300,000 people had died since November and at least 1.5 million were at immediate risk. The United Nations had instituted humanitarian operations in Somalia, but due to the deteriorating situation, it had been obliged to withdraw its personnel from the country.
In early 1992, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, James O. C. Jonah led a team to Somalia for talks aimed at bringing about a cessation of hostilities and securing access by the international relief community to civilians caught in the conflict. During that visit, unanimous support was expressed by all faction leaders for a United Nations role in bringing about national reconciliation. On 23 January 1992, the Security Council (Resolution 733/1992) urged all parties to cease hostilities, called for an embargo on military equipment, and requested the secretary-general to contact all parties involved in the conflict. In February, the secretary-general obtained the agreement of the two main factions in Mogadishu to an immediate cease-fire and on 3 March 1992, Interim President Ali Mahdi and General Mohamed Farah Aidid signed an "Agreement on the Implementation of a Cease-fire." The agreement also included acceptance of a United Nations security component for convoys of humanitarian assistance and deployment of 20 military observers on each side of Mogadishu to monitor the cease-fire.
On 24 April 1992, the Security Council adopted resolution 751 (1992) and established a UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The total strength of UNOSOM was eventually established at 4,219 troops to protect the representatives of the six main UN organizations at work in Somalia coordinating humanitarian efforts (FAO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP and WHO). In addition, more than 30 non-governmental organizations were working in Somalia as "implementing partners" of the UN. However, in October the security situation deteriorated, as some factions refused to agree to the deployment of UN troops to assure delivery of humanitarian aid to people in great need. According to some estimates, as many as 3,000 persons a day were dying of starvation, while warehouses remained stocked with food supplied by the humanitarian agencies. On 3 December 1992, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 794 (1992) authorizing the use of "all necessary means to establish as soon as possible a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia." A Unified Task Force (UNITAF), led by United States troops, was deployed in Mogadishu on 9 December 1992.
On 3 March 1993, the secretary-general recommended the Security Council establish a new force, UNOSOM II, to take over from UNITAF, which had deployed approximately 37,000 troops in southern and central Somalia. The secretary-general appointed Admiral Jonathan T. Howe (Ret.) of the United States as his new Special Representative for Somalia to oversee the transition from UNITAF to UNOSOM II. A Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia was convened on 15 March 1993 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was attended by the leaders of 15 Somali political movements and representatives of regional organizations. After two weeks of intensive negotiations, the 15 Somali leaders signed an Agreement for disarmament and security, rehabilitation and reconstruction, restoration of property and settlement of disputes, and transitional mechanisms.
UNOSOM II took over from UNITAF on 4 May 1993, and proceeded to fulfill its mandate to disarm the Somali factions who were terrorizing the people and obstructing humanitarian activities. This provoked the hostility of a few clan leaders. On 5 June, 25 Pakistani soldiers were killed, 10 were missing and 54 were wounded in a series of ambushes and armed attacks against UNOSOM II troops throughout Mogadishu. The Security Council reaffirmed that the secretary-general was authorized to take all necessary measures against those responsible for armed attacks, and on 12 June 1993, UNOSOM II initiated decisive military action in south Mogadishu.
On 3 October 1993, United States Rangers, deployed in support of UNOSOM II, but not under UN command, launched an operation in south Mogadishu aimed at capturing a number of key aides of General Aidid who were suspected of complicity in the 5 June attack, as well as subsequent attacks on UN personnel and facilities. Two US helicopters were shot down by Somali militiamen using automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. While evacuating the detainees, the Rangers came under concentrated fire, and 18 US soldiers were killed and 75 wounded. The bodies of the US soldiers were subjected to humiliating treatment. Following these events, the US both reinforced its Quick Reaction Force in Somalia and announced its intention to withdraw its forces from Somalia by 31 March 1994.
On 9 October 1993, General Aidid's faction declared a unilateral cessation of hostilities against UNOSOM II, but the situation remained tense. It was reported that the major factions were rearming in anticipation of renewed fighting. UNOSOM II's mandate to force the factions to disarm was unenforceable.
The leaders of the two main Somali factions signed a Declaration of National Reconciliation on 24 March, committing themselves to repudiate any form of violence. A National Reconciliation Conference was scheduled for 15 May 1994; however, this conference was postponed. By March 1995, UNOSOM II withdrew from Somalia. In August 1995 a wide range of
Somali factions held consultations at Nairobi, Kenya and agreed to work out a common political platform and to start a process of national reconciliation. General Aidid rejected the calls for national reconciliation, and intense fighting broke out against the militia of Ali Mahdi. Aidid's forces occupied Baidoa and Hoddur, and a stalemate between faction leaders continued into 1996.
In June 1991, the Republics of Croatia and Slovenia declared themselves independent from Yugoslavia. Fighting broke out when Serbs living in Croatia, supported by the Yugoslavian Army, opposed this move. European Community efforts to end hostilities were unsuccessful. On 25 September 1992, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 713 (1991) calling on all states to implement an arms embargo to Yugoslavia. Then Secretary-General Pérez de Cuéllar appointed former US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance as his personal envoy for Yugoslavia. Vance undertook several missions to Yugoslavia and discussed with the parties the feasibility of deploying a UN peacekeeping operation. An unconditional cease-fire was signed on 2 January 1992, and the Security Council approved the dispatch of a group of 50 military liaison officers to Yugoslavia to use their good offices to promote maintenance of the cease-fire. However, some political groups in Yugoslavia objected to the UN plan for a peacekeeping mission. Nevertheless, on 21 February 1992, the Security Council established the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) as an interim arrangement to create conditions of peace and security required for the negotiation of an overall settlement of the Yugoslav crisis.
On 30 April 1992, the secretary-general deployed 40 military observers to the Mostar region of Bosnia and Herzegovina in response to the deteriorating security situation there. However, fighting between Bosnian Muslims and Croats on one side, and Bosnian Serbs on the other, intensified. UNPROFOR, which had established its headquarters in Sarajevo, the capital, was obliged to relocate to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
A situation tragically similar to that in Somalia quickly developed. UN humanitarian convoys could not reach civilians trapped in the conflict. The Security Council, in its resolution 770 (1992) once again invoked Chapter VII of the Charter and called on states to "take nationally or through regional agencies or arrangements all measures necessary" to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Sarajevo and other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The situation continued to deteriorate and the Security Council declared a "no-fly zone" to prevent the bombing of Sarajevo and other villages. On 13 March 1993 three unidentified aircraft dropped bombs on two villages, the first time that the "no-fly zone" had been violated since its declaration. On 31 March the Security Council extended its ban on flights, and authorized NATO to enforce the no-fly zone. Between the establishment of the no-fly zone and April 1994, 1,620 violations of the ban on flights over Bosnian airspace were registered. On 28 February 1994, NATO fighters in the airspace of Bosnia and Herzegovina shot down four of six jets which had defied the international ban on military flights and ignored two warnings.
On 27 April 1994, the Security Council increased the strength of UNPROFOR to 33,891. Negotiations for a resolution of the crisis in the former Yugoslavia continued in July 1994.
Following a mortar attack on Sarajevo's Makale commercial district on 28 August 1995, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conducted air strikes against Bosnian Serb positions near Sarajevo. The air strikes were authorized by the United Nations Peace Forces, and deterred any further attacks on safe areas. By October 1995, a country-wide cease-fire was in place, arranged by a delegation from the United States. The cease-fire included civilian provisions, such as humane treatment of detained persons, freedom of movement, and the right of displaced persons to return to their homes.
On 21 November 1995, a series of agreements to restore peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina concluded in Dayton, Ohio. The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (known as the Dayton Agreement) was initialed by the governments of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the talks, several non-NATO countries, such as the Russian Federation, agreed to participate in the implementation of the Bosnian peace plan. The United Nations was not officially represented during the talks.
The economic sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Bosnian Serb party were suspended following the signing of the Dayton Agreement. In his 1996 annual report, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali indicated that "the value of sanctions as a means of conflict resolution was amply demonstrated in the former Yugoslavia, where the conclusion of peace accords has been facilitated by the effective implementation of a sanctions regime."
After the signing of the Dayton Agreement, it seemed possible to solve the problem of repatriation for the estimated two million Bosnian refugees and displaced persons. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was designated as the agency in charge of planning and carrying out the repatriation of the Bosnians who wanted to return. However, by June 1996, only 70,000–80,000 refugees and internally displaced persons had returned to their homes.
The UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) successfully undertook its mission to conduct elections and repatriate more than 360,000 refugees. Its 21,000 military, police, and civilian personnel were fully deployed by mid-1992. Elections were held in May 1993, and 96% of the eligible population, nearly 4.7 million people, registered to vote. Despite concerns about disruption by the National Army of Democratic Kampuchea, which had withdrawn from the process, a six-week election campaign in which 20 political parties took part was successfully held. On 10 June, the secretary-general's special representative declared his view that the elections had been free and fair. The newly elected Constituent Assembly held its inaugural meeting on 4 June 1993 to begin its task of drafting and adopting a new constitution. The four Cambodian political parties that won seats in the election agreed to join in an interim administration for the remainder of the transitional period. UNTAC's mandate terminated in November 1993. A small Military Liaison Team remained in the country for six months as observers. The liaison team's mandate expired on 15 May 1994, and they were replaced by three military officers assisting the secretary-general's special representative in Cambodia.