Expected Council Action
In November, the Council will hold its annual briefing with the heads of UN police components in UN peace operations. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix is expected to brief. The briefing will be held via videoconference (VTC). The heads of police components of three UN peacekeeping operations and one special political mission will also brief: Pascal Champion, the police commissioner of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA); Unaisi Lutu Vuniwaqa, the police commissioner of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS); Issoufou Yacouba, the police commissioner of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA); and Serge Therriault, the police commissioner of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). Champion is expected to brief on increasing UN police performance and accountability while Vuniwaqa is likely to brief on the contribution of UN police to the protection of civilians. Yacouba is likely to address the issue of advancing political solutions through UN policing, and Therriault to discuss capacity–building and development efforts, focusing on the Haitian National Police.
Key Recent Developments
Briefings with the heads of police components of UN peace operations have been held annually since 2014. The most recent, held on 6 November 2019, featured briefings from Lacroix and Yacouba as well as Awale Abdounasir, the police commissioner of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and Mary Gahonzire, the police commissioner of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). Marie-Joseph Fitah-Kona, Adviser to the Mayor of the Third Arrondissement of Bangui, Central African Republic, also briefed.
At that time, Lacroix noted that UN police components are well placed to deal with emerging challenges and threats such as organised crime and international terrorism, and the need to build the national capacities of host states, especially in the area of the rule of law. In this context, Abdounasir spoke about MONUSCO’s efforts to address organised crime, while Gahonzire discussed UNISFA’s efforts to support community protection committees in Abyei, and Yacouba addressed efforts to build governance in “ungoverned spaces” in Mali. Fitah-Kona offered a first-hand view of the benefits of having UN police deployed to Bangui, noting that their presence had provided Bangui greater security, allowing shops to reopen, while also helping to raise awareness of violence against women and sexual exploitation and abuse.
At the 2017 annual police commissioners’ briefing, the Council adopted resolution 2382, emphasising the important contribution UN policing can provide in peacekeeping and special political missions at different stages of a conflict. It also stressed the importance of UN policing with respect to the protection of civilians, capacity-building, and the development efforts of host state police services. On 21 September 2018, the Council adopted resolution 2436, reaffirming its support for the development of a comprehensive and integrated performance policy framework that identifies clear standards of performance for evaluating all UN civilian and uniformed personnel working in and supporting peacekeeping operations, including police components.
Since last November’s annual briefing, the Council has adopted two more resolutions that are directly relevant to this year’s briefing: on 30 March, the Council adopted resolution 2518, which emphasised the importance of enhancing the safety and security of UN peacekeepers and police components and called on host states to facilitate access and freedom of movement for UN peacekeepers and police components and their equipment consistent with a mission’s mandate, including casualty and medical evacuation. This is particularly important given the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. With the adoption of resolution 2538 on 28 August, the Council took an important step to improve efforts towards women’s “full, effective and meaningful participation at all peacekeeping levels and positions”. As part of these measures, resolution 2538 encouraged member states to develop “strategies and measures to increase the deployment of uniformed women to peacekeeping operations”, including increasing the number of women in police forces.
Key Issues and Options
A key issue for the Council is the impact that COVID-19 is having on peace operations, including police components, and their ability to undertake their mandated tasks. On 27 March, the Secretary-General announced that he had suspended the rotation and deployment of uniformed personnel, including individual police officers and formed police units, until 30 June. Though the full suspension has now been lifted, the Department of Peace Operations continues to review these carefully: some countries have been requested to delay troop and police rotations by three months that they may “maintain operational strength and execute their mandated tasks”.
Given this, the Council and briefers may wish to focus on how peace operations are undertaking their mandated tasks while being guided by the Secretary-General’s four main objectives for UN peace operations in response to COVID-19. These objectives are the protection of UN personnel and their capacity to continue critical operations, helping contain and mitigate the spread of the virus, supporting national authorities in their response to COVID-19, and continuing to deliver on key mandates.
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.
UN DOCUMENTS ON PEACEKEEPING
|Security Council Resolutions|
|28 August 2020S/RES/2538||This was on the role of women in peacekeeping operations.|
|30 March 2020S/RES/2518||This was a resolution on improving the safety and security of peacekeepers.|
|21 September 2018S/RES/2436||This was a resolution on peacekeeping performance.|
|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.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|6 November 2019S/PV.8661||This was the annual briefing of the heads of UN police components.|