Expected Council Action
In November, the Council will hold its annual briefing with the heads of UN police components. Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and UN Police Adviser Luís Carrilho are expected to brief. The heads of police components of three UN peacekeeping operations will also brief: Awale Abdounasir, the police commissioner of the UN Organization Stabilization Operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); Mary Gahonzire, the police commissioner of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA); and Issoufou Yacouba, the police commissioner of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Abdounasir is expected to speak about MONUSCO’s efforts to address serious and organised crime, while Gahonzire will discuss UNISFA’s efforts to support community protection committees in Abyei and Yacouba will address efforts to build governance in “ungoverned spaces” in Mali.
Key Recent Developments
Briefings with the heads of police components of UN peacekeeping operations have been held in the Council annually since 2014 when this meeting was initiated by then-Council member Australia. The most recent of these, held on 6 November 2018, featured a briefing from Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions Alexandre Zouev and the heads of police components of three UN peacekeeping operations: Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Serge Therriault of the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), and Abdounasir of MONUSCO. Tuesday Reitano, the deputy director of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, also participated in the meeting.
Zouev introduced the themes addressed by the police commissioners. Vuniwaqa discussed UNMISS’ efforts to protect civilians through gender-responsive policing, Abdounasir briefed on efforts by MONUSCO to prevent and address organised crime, and Therriault briefed on MINUJUSTH’s efforts to strengthen the rule of law through police reform. Reitano discussed trends in organised crime and highlighted gaps in the UN’s efforts to address this challenge.
Resolution 2382, adopted on 6 November 2017 at that year’s annual police commissioners’ briefing, stressed the important role of UN policing with respect to the protection of civilians, capacity-building, and the development efforts of host-state police services. It further called on the Secretary-General to provide a report on UN policing by the end of 2018, focused on “strengthening the operational and policy coherence of UN policing across the UN system”, among other issues.
The report, which was published on 31 December 2018, made several observations to help enhance the effectiveness of UN policing. Among other things, the report:
- called on mission heads to include the heads of police components as part of their senior management teams;
- observed that member state support is needed for the UN to achieve the Secretary-General’s strategy for gender parity for uniformed personnel by 2028;
- urged police-contributing countries to strengthen efforts to evaluate and train their police personnel and hold them accountable for criminal acts;
- observed that the UN Police Unit can contribute to “horizon scanning and early warning processes and briefings to the Security Council by analysing the state of policing and other law enforcement institutions and by recommending swift responses to emerging problems”; and
- encouraged the consideration of options for establishing a police advisory committee to “strengthen information exchange and triangular cooperation” among police-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council.
On 13 December 2018, the Council adopted resolution 2447, which was spearheaded by the Netherlands and Côte d’Ivoire and underscored the importance of integrating UN support for police, justice and corrections institutions in the mandates of UN peace operations.
Women, Peace and Security
In his latest annual report on women, peace and security, the Secretary-General writes that “figures among uniformed personnel remain low” and that as of December 2018, women represented 12.8 per cent of police personnel. He further states that twelve sexual and gender-based violence advisers were placed in police components of UN missions in Abyei, the Central African Republic, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Kosovo, Mali and South Sudan.
Key Issues and Options
A key issue that may be addressed in the meeting is the role of UN policing in the context of the Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations, launched by Secretary-General António Guterres in August 2018 and currently endorsed by 152 member states and four regional organisations. This could include, for example, focus on how UN policing can most effectively advance political solutions to conflict, protect civilians, and strengthen peacekeeping’s impact on sustaining peace.
The briefings with the heads of police components have traditionally included interaction between briefers and Council members. Members may pose questions directly to the heads of the police components, an otherwise rare practice in Council public briefings.
An additional issue for Council members is the fact that the Secretary-General’s 31 December 2018 report on UN policing has yet to be formally discussed by the Council, although it has been informally discussed among police advisors from UN member state missions. Council members may choose to raise themes highlighted in the report during their interventions.
There is general agreement among Council members about the importance of UN police in helping to maintain public order, protect civilians, and assist host states in building their law enforcement capacities. Members also emphasise the importance of deploying UN police with the requisite linguistic skills and training, including with regard to sexual and gender-based violence, and the need to increase the number of women in UN police contingents. While some members tend to emphasise the role of UN policing across the peace continuum (encompassing conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding), others underscore that prolonged deployments risk inhibiting the ability of host countries to develop their own policing capacities.
UN DOCUMENTS ON PEACEKEEPING
|Security Council Resolutions|
|13 December 2018S/RES/2447||This was a resolution drafted by the Netherlands and Côte d’Ivoire on “strengthening support to police, justice and corrections areas in peacekeeping operations and special political missions”.|
|6 November 2017S/RES/2382||This was a resolution, unanimously adopted, stressing the important contribution UN policing can provide in peacekeeping and special political missions throughout the conflict cycle across the entire peace continuum.|
|31 December 2018S/2018/1183||This was the Secretary-General’s report on UN policing.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|6 November 2018S/PV.8393||This was a briefing on UN Policing by Alexander Zouev, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the DPKO, civil society briefer Tuesday Reitano, Deputy Director of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime and the heads of police components of three UN peacekeeping operations.|