Peace-keeping is one of the ways the UN help to maintain international peace and security. In the UN contest, peace-keeping has been defined as the use of multinational forces under United Nations command, to help control and resolve conflicts between hostile states and sometimes between hostile communities within a single state. It is a technique pioneered by the UN – the soldier is a catalyst for peace rather than an instrument of war. United Nations peace-keepers are either unarmed observers or lightly-armed forces.
They can observe a situation and report to the Secretary-General or investigate violations or patrol buffer zones. Peace-keeping operations are only established within the countries involved. Some of the peace-keepers are regular soldiers, others are reservists.
A normal tour of duty lasts six months to a year. The requirements of peace-keeping can be very different from those of normal soldiering – diplomacy and tact are needed more than combat skills.