Peacekeeping

MSU/94/0044/29Medical Operations Officer Major Reg Crawford, serving with the Australian Medical Support Force in Rwanda, sitting outside with a group of local children. Photo by Geoffrey Fox, 1994.MSU/94/0044/29

Peacekeeping is not war, but an intervention force which is sent to areas of conflict. Peacekeepers can include personnel from the Defence force, police officers and civilians. Peacekeepers are there to keep the peace, not enforce it, often Peacekeepers are not armed. Australians have been involved in peacekeeping since 1947, often in quick-response situations, in a variety of environments. When investigating the Peacekeeping environment look for clues as to what country this may be representing.

Official History of Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Post–Cold War Operations

Conditions

Peacekeepers serve in war-torn countries. They often work from badly damaged or ‘bombed out’ buildings with no comforts from home. Their duties can include learning the local language, repairing structures such as bridges and hospitals, clearing landmines, and providing clean drinking water to limit disease.

Food

In these war-torn countries food and water is limited. Often land mines have been placed in fields preventing locals from farming to feed their family, and often water supplies have been contaminated. 

EKN/68/0018/VN Army engineers use a detector, where mines are suspected, to clear the way for an armoured personnel carrier (APC). Vietnam, 1968.EKN/68/0018/VN

Uniform

When serving in multinational forces and under the United Nations (UN), Australian soldiers wear the Australian uniform and the blue beret of the UN.

Technology

Peacekeepers build water purification plants, rebuild bridges, buildings and roads so that the locals can re-build their community and live in safety.

P03258.369 Australian contractor and engineer Clay Semchyshyn poses next to the foundations of a bridge he is building with a Cambodian crew across a river at the village of Peam Sitha, 35 kilometres northwest of Phnom Penh, 1993. P03258.369