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Peacekeepers accept zero tolerance policy on alcohol

The Association of Finnish Peacekeepers says it accepts the idea of zero tolerance towards the consumption of alcohol during missions abroad. However, the Association adds a decision on the issue rests entirely with the Finnish Defence Forces.

Suomalaisen kriisinhallintajoukon rauhantuvaaja Tshadissa.
Image: YLE

“The Association cannot hold an opinion differing from that of the Defence Forces and the organizers of peacekeeping missions. Clear orders and their adherence are essential,” the Association’s Chairman Paavo Kiljunen told YLE on Saturday.

In his view, all plans that restrict the consumption of alcoholic beverages while on duty abroad are positive. Until now, peacekeepers were allowed a drink or two.

“A so-called ‘two drinks’ policy has worked well for most servicemen during sauna baths but it can be rescinded if necessary in demanding operations,” Kiljunen adds noting that peacekeeping falls into such a category.

“A zero tolerance policy has been observed during military service for security reasons,” Kiljunen adds. He denies claims of alcohol abuse problems in peacekeeping operations.

He notes that while the overwhelming majority of peacekeepers shape up well on missions, a few individual cases of alcohol abuse have been noted. Kiljinen emphasizes a ban on consuming alcoholic beverages would not harm peacekeeper recruitment.

Kiljunen noted plans for a ban on alcohol had come as a surprise to the association. Plans for such a ban were first reported by the tabloid Iltalehti.

Sources: YLE

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