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Canada's Peacekeeping Missions

Canada has fifty years of experience in peacekeeping and has participated in most of the missions mandated by the UN security council. This ability to count on Canada to help has established an international reputation. The term peacekeeping did not enter popular use until 1965. Since that time there have been over fifty UN peacekeeping missions. Canada has participated in more missions than any other country. Our groups task was to write a report on Canada's contributions to UN peacekeeping missions. Out of Canada's numerous missions our group has picked two in particular. The first being the on-going mission in Bosnia and second the mission to Rwanda. The mission in Bosnia is relevant because it is a major issue the world right now. We chose to do the other on Rwanda because the events that occurred there are not as well known as they should be.


The genocide in Rwanda was ethnically motivated. The causes of this conflict can be traced back hundreds of years. Rwanda consists of two ethnic groups, the Hutu who make up 85% of the population and the Tutsi who make up 14% of the population.

Belgian and German colonist around the turn of the century encouraged a two class system in Rwanda which favored the Tutsi. The Tutsi were given privileges and western style educations.

In the 1950's Hutus started their rebellion against this system which saw them as second class citizens. By the time Belgium had withdrawn from Rwanda the Hutu had control of the country. This is when the Tutsi first became victims of racial persecution. Throughout the 1960's they were massacred.

In 1990 rebel Tutsi exiles fought back sparking a six month civil war. In 1991 a cease fire was signed with the aid of French troops who were called in to help. The civil war didn't really end and tensions in Rwanda grew.

In 1994 non government organizations who were in Rwanda giving aid started sending there employees home, feeling that a war was imminent. Many humanitarian organizations appealed to their governments to help ease the tensions, feeling a war was about to erupt.

On April 6, 1994, the president of Rwanda who was a Hutu was killed when a plane he was on got bombed. Within hours of this Hutus were on the radio blaming the Tutsi. Know one really knows who bombed the plane but it has been suggested that it was actually Hutu extremists.

That night the genocide began. Hutu soldiers went house to house killing any Tutsi and moderate Hutus. Hutu's and Tutsi's look the same except that Tutsi are usually taller, so there was no real way of telling who was Tutsi and who was Hutu. Children, women and men who were thought to be Tutsi were slaughtered, usually being hacked to death.

Two weeks later the prim minister and ten Belgian soldiers who were guarding him were killed. The Un took no action and the slaughter continued. In late June Un finally authorized the deployment of troops into Rwanda to create a safe zone.

In July the Hutu extremists government was defeated. Tutsi sought revenge and reprise killings spread throughout Rwanda. The genocide had claimed nearly one million lives. One in sixteen Rwandans was dead. Today Rwanda is reasonably peaceful however ethnic tensions still exist.


Canada's role in Rwandan mission

Although many nations including the US and France originally declared they would contribute troops to the operation in Rwanda, no country other than Canada actually placed forces under the MNF (Multinational Force) commander. Despite taking the lead, Canada could not convince others to follow, and could do little itself to fill the void because at that time Canada was also supporting missions in Bosnia, Croatia and Haiti.

At the start of peacekeeping missions in Rwanda UN participation consisted of 490 personnel. At that time Canada's involvement, called Op Lance, included two CC-130 aircraft, and approximately 60 Canadian military personnel which provided vital support throughout the civil war. Canada was the only country operating aircraft in the region at that time, providing daily flights into Kigali, Rwanda. During the four month war, the two aircraft transported over 2384 passengers and almost 900 tons of cargo.

Canada's commitment to Rwanda continued to increase with UNAMIR II increasing the UN's number of troops to 5,500. UNAMIR II was tasked with securing a cease-fire, providing security, and supporting humanitarian relief operations. On 21 June 1994, the Canadian Government approved the deployment of a communications unit made up of all most 350 personnel. The communications Unit provided all communications services for UNAMIR II from 21 July 1994 to 25 January 1995.

Canada's participation in Op Lance went beyond providing a communications unit. On 2 August 1994, Op Passage was created to provide humanitarian relief to Rwandan Refugees. Canada dispatched 247 medical, engineer and support personnel. These personnel, started operations in Theatre. The mission treated over 500 patients each day.

The Canadian Government decided that Canada still had a major role to play in Rwanda and 95 Force Logistic Support Group (95 FLSG) was created in late-January 1995. The new organization consisted of 85 military personnel and eight military police. 95 FLSG provided transport, supply and maintenance support. The group remained in Theatre for six months, returning to Canada in late-July 1995.

In June 1995, UNAMIR's mission was extended for a further six months however the UN planned to reduce its total force in Theatre from 6,200 to 1,800. Canada agreed to continue to provide the mission with administration, finance, communications, medical, military police, supply and transport personnel.

In December 1995, the Security Council again extended UNAMIR's mandate. However, the new mandate had more reductions in military personnel so Canada decided not to replace its 95 troops. On 15 February 1995, Canada's participation in UNAMIR ended.

Canada played a significant role in supporting the various UN missions in Rwanda. Canadian volunteers were noted for spending their spare time in activities which positively affected the lives of many Rwandans. They were especially recognized for the outstanding contribution they made to the orphans and orphanages throughout the country. The Canadians who served with the UN in Rwanda exceeded the expectations of the international community. For their efforts, each and every member received admiration from the UN and most importantly the Rwandan people.

The second mission we choose to include in our web site is the on going conflict in Bosnia. We have chosen this particular mission because it has been and continues to be a huge influence on the international community.




The main reason for conflict in Bosnia stem from religious and ethnic divisions. The people of Bosnia consist of Croats, Muslims, and Serbs, who have divided themselves into three camps. However, even these three groups are not united because many Croats don't share the same religion, and neither do Serbs.

During the war Serbians who opposed Bosnia's independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 began killing Croats and Muslims. The Serbs especially targeted Muslims and "ethnically cleansed" 1000's of non-christians. Eventually the Croats and Muslims formed an alliance and gained support of NATO.


In 1995 GFAP peace agreement was signed in Paris, which backed up the Dayton Peace accord. On Dec. 16th NATO under took hte largest operation in its history: IFOR, which started on Dec. 20th 1995 and was given a one-year mandate.

The main mission of the 60,000 strong peace keeping force was to maintain the peace accord and keep the Croat-Muslim Federation and the Republika Srpska (serbs) from fighting.

IFOR patroled 1,400 km of a de-militaried zone between the two forces and began de-militarization of the para-military groups.

After successful elections in 1996, IFOR had completed its mission and was replaced with a stabilization force called SFOR, which was a smaller scale version of IFOR.

The mission of SFOR is to maintain peace in Bosnia, and has 32,00 troops available. SFOR is under the command of Supreme Allied Command Europe, which is headed by British Gen. Lord Cobertson. The current commander of SFOR in Bosnia is Lt. Gren John. B. Sylvester.

NATO contributors: Belgium, Canada, Czech., Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the biggest constrictors, UK and USA.

*Russia is also given troop support to SFOR.
*Iceland is the only NATO country not contributing troops.

Canada's contribution began in 1995 and includes 1,600 troops, that patrol an area roughly the size of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island(9,200 sq kilometres). There are Canadian bases located in Veliko Kladusa (Black Bear), Zgon (Maple Leaf), Tomislavgrad, Drvar, Glomach, Bihac, Tomina, Gola, Gos Peak, Irovik.




Serbian: 40% Orthodox: 31%
Muslim: 38% Muslim: 40%
Croatian: 22% Catholic: 15%

Bosnia was never a united country and for most of its history was controlled by more powerful nations. For almost 500 years it was controlled by the Turks, then in 1878 it became a part of the Austrian Empire. During WW2 Nazi Germany touched off the violence in Bosnia that would last 50 years. The Germans aligned themselves with certain ethnic groups of the region, to take control of Yugoslavia. This caused in-fighting among the ethnic groups. When the war was over, Serbia conquered the region and named the new communist state, Yugoslavia.

In 1991, Bosnia declared itself independent from Yugoslavia. Serbs living in Bosnia rejected the declaration and began killing Croats and Muslims.

Fierce three way fighting between Croats, Muslims and Serbs developed and Muslims were "ethnically cleansed" and thousands died.

In 1995 a Muslim-Croat alliance began to turn the tide of the was and, NATO began air strikes on Serbian targets. This lifted the siege of Sarajevo, and led to the signed of a peace accord (Dayton) which divided the country in Serb, Croat and Muslim districts. (Croats-Muslims formed a confederacy).

In 1995 60,000 NATO troops from NATO countries except Iceland were sent to Bosnia to enforces the peace accord.


Published on: 2005-03-14 (39325 reads)

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