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Joint Nordic statement at the Security Council open debate on peace operations and human rights

Statement by Ambassador Jukka Salovaara, Permanent Representative of Finland, on behalf of the Nordic Countries for the Security Council Open Debate on Peace Operations and Human Rights, 7 July 2020.

I thank the German Presidency for convening this discussion in the form of an open debate, and I have the pleasure to deliver the following statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden on this important topic.

Protection and promotion of human rights is at the core of the United Nations mandate, constituting one of its three fundamental pillars. Effective integration of human rights and gender equality across, and within all the pillars of the UN is crucial for the organisation’s ability to contribute to sustaining peace and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Human rights integration into peace operations is a vital achievement, affirming that respect for human rights is a key condition and prerequisite for lasting peace.

Human rights components should be standard in peace operations, in order to enhance their quality and effectiveness, not least in the promotion and protection of civilians. The mandates must also be matched with adequate funding in order for missions to fulfil their objectives and have the capacity to undertake these tasks. We need to integrate and mainstream human rights in all of the United Nations’ work, including in the peace and security pillar. UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy remains at the core of this.

The Nordic countries pursue a human rights-based foreign and security policy. Our countries are long-term supporters of UN peacekeeping, and the human rights-based approach lies at the center of our participation in international crisis management. Human rights and its gender dimensions are an integral part of the training that we provide to our peacekeepers and experts. We have also consistently supported initiatives within the UN to improve the monitoring and compliance with human rights, both in the field of training and in human rights screening. This includes the development of the concept of Human Rights Readiness and implementation of HRDDP as an important component of our commitment under the Action for Peacekeeping Initiative.

We would like to emphasize three key elements of effective peacekeeping – which have direct bearing on the protection and promotion of human rights: training, participation of women and taking a comprehensive approach in crisis management.

Human rights, including efforts towards ensuring accountability, need to be an integral part of all military and police training, including the pre-deployment training for uniformed and non-uniformed peacekeeping personnel. A good example is specialized training courses, which focus on topics such as integrating human rights into strategic planning as well as implementing the women peace and security agenda. International cooperation offers opportunities for sharing best practices, to compare and develop training modules and materials, to exchange trainers and students as well as to create and harmonize standards. In this regard, special thanks go to the UN Integrated Training Service, ITS, for their support and guidance for UN member states.

Women in peacekeeping
The Nordic countries have a long-term commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s full enjoyment of human rights. Integrating a gender perspective in all aspects of the work of the UN, including peacekeeping, is a necessity.

Inclusion and effective participation of women in peace processes is a prerequisite for sustainable peace. Likewise, participation of women in peacekeeping improves operational effectiveness, including through increased access to local communities. Better understanding of the challenges facing those communities strengthens the missions’ capacity to prevent and end human rights violations. It also enhances missions’ ability to implement their protection of civilians mandate, with a particular focus on protection of women and girls, women’s participation and preventing conflict related sexual violence. Women peacekeepers help build a closer relationship with women, thereby bolstering community relations and situational awareness.

The Nordic countries consider it essential to increase the participation of female peacekeepers – we need to ensure that the UN gets the people best qualified. As an example, we would like to cite the training of female peacekeepers through UN Women, Gender Parity courses and the efforts undertaken by the Police Division in the Department of Peace Operations to increase the number of female Police Officers in UN operations.

Comprehensive approach in crisis management
Peacekeeping – as all other efforts towards peace – is inherently political. It should not be carried out in a vacuum. Peacekeeping has to be an integral part of an inclusive peacebuilding process that creates ground for reconciliation, social cohesion and sustainable peace and development. Regular monitoring and analysis of the patterns of human rights violations, such as incidence and severity, should constitute a key input into missions’ early warning analysis and thereby contribute to the implementation of protection of civilians mandates.

Human rights violations can be drivers of conflict and restoring respect for human rights will often contribute to addressing root causes and to sustaining peace. From the outset, the UN system must simultaneously aim to build the national capacity needed to address these challenges. As per the HDP Nexus thinking, peacekeeping, political processes, development cooperation and humanitarian aid should be planned and implemented hand in hand: Joint context analysis and common outcomes are vital to ensure a well-coordinated and successful use of the tools working towards sustainable peace.

Another aspect of comprehensiveness is the need to ensure that the UN mission and the host country share the objectives of the mission and that the different elements – both civilian and military – of each mission work seamlessly together and with the local authorities and population.

These three elements (training, participation of women and comprehensive approach) will continue to be cornerstones of the Nordic approach to effective peacekeeping and crisis management.

Thank you. 


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