By Charlotte Morgan and Isabelle Truong

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the landmark Security Council resolution 1325, the first one to recognize women as key agents of peace. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the ground-breaking resolution “underscored the link between gender, inequality and fragility, and between women’s security and international security.”

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To commemorate the landmark anniversary, UN Secretary-General António Guterres made a rallying call to peacekeeping partners to summon political will and recommit to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

At a roundtable, the Secretary-General met virtually with four women leaders from Mali, Central African Republic, Darfur and Cyprus, who spoke about their work to advance women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes, conflict resolution and politics. …

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By David Haeri

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. This anniversary comes along with a message of hope: together, in a world where cooperation is key to ensure the success of peace processes, we can achieve more for populations.

Our peacekeeping missions around the world are a major innovation of the United Nations, and they are constantly evolving to cover more demanding mandates, environments and tasks, from political support and protection, to institution building. By doing so, peacekeeping missions empower local populations and societies to transition from conflict to peace.

This important anniversary also reminds us of our commitment. While we do have tens of thousands of troops, civilians and police deployed, how can we measure to which extent peacekeeping operations are advancing peace on the ground? …

By Naomi Belay

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Although first suggested by the former United Nations Secretary-General Trygve Lie in 1948, the official emergence of the United Nations Police (UNPOL) was in 1960 following the first deployment of UN Police officers to the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC). Since this genesis 60 years ago, UN Police has proven itself to be a critical and valuable component in supporting the navigation towards peace.

Today, nearly 9,000 UN Police officers, of about 11,000 total authorized, are deployed in 18 peace operations throughout the world, diligently working to diffuse the effects of conflict and violence on vulnerable communities and striving to foster global peace and security. Their core responsibilities include assistance to host-State police through operational support and capacity-building, but in some missions, UNPOL officers also act as interim law enforcement, directly responsible for all policing functions and the maintenance of law and order. …

In 2019, over 1.6 million persons in South Sudan were internally displaced. Over 200,000 such individuals were living in protection of civilians sites hosted by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). While the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Armed Conflict in South Sudan has led to a decrease in armed violence in many parts of the country, internally displaced persons continue to face many difficulties when returning to their communities.

Illegal occupation of housing, land, and property remains one of the key impediments to the voluntary and safe return of individuals from internally displaced persons and protection of civilian sites and remains a source of conflict. Since early 2018, under the Mission’s protection of civilians mandate, the UNMISS Rule of Law Advisory Unit has been raising awareness and providing technical advice to national and international stakeholders in order to improve frameworks to better protect the displaced population’s housing, land, and property rights. …

By Josefine Ulbrich

Last year, 1,054 cases of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) were recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the UN’s Mission (MONUSCO), affecting 1,048 women and 6 men. But reported cases are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Of the 5.5 million internally displaced people in the DRC, 51 per cent are women and girls. In order to engage the most affected populations in conflict-ridden areas of the DRC, MONUSCO’s 15 Female Engagement Teams (FET) are a critical tool to prevent and reduce violence as part of the wider protection efforts of both civilian and uniformed components in the Mission. …

By Elena Schiatti

My name is Elena Schiatti and I serve as Women Protection Advisor in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with the UN Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO). Now working in Bukavu, South Kivu Province, I previously worked in Kasai Central province and was based in the provincial capital, Kananga, for a year. Between 2016 and 2018, this province witnessed a violent armed conflict between the Kamwina Nsapu militia and State security and defense forces. Human rights violations and abuses were committed by all parties and included brutal sexual violence that mainly targeted women and girls.

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The conflict that started as a customary dispute, then snowballed into attacks that involved unimaginable acts of violence, carried out against entire villages as well as neighborhoods of Kananga, terrorizing the local population. Such incidents destroyed local social structures and forced thousands of people to flee across the province or to neighbouring Angola. The conflict left many scars and had a significant and enduring impact on the already weak infrastructural and economic development of the region, leaving much of the population in extreme poverty. …

In the Darfur region of Sudan, with the myriad of internally displaced persons and nomadic communities, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a significant threat to peace and security and further deteriorated the socio-economic situation.

The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) — the peacekeeping mission that has been deployed since 2007 to protect civilians, facilitate humanitarian aid and help the political process in Darfur — has been adapting to these new challenges while continuing to implement its mandate.

UNAMID’s Governance and Community Stabilization Section (GCSS) works to address issues such as intercommunal violence and competition over limited natural resources, rights to land and the use of land. The proliferation of small arms, weakened traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, and the absence of the rule of law and effective state institutions has made a difficult situation even more complex. …

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“Demining is seen as a man’s job.” These are the words of Itta Betty Oliver Lowela, who works with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in South Sudan. When Itta Betty became one of the first South Sudanese women to be trained as a deminer in 2007, she did so in a place emerging from decades of conflict. Thirteen years later, explosive ordnance (EO) — from remnants of war buried out of sight to improvised devices laid during recent conflict — continues to pose a threat to South Sudanese people. …

par Arsène T. Gbaguidi, Directeur de la Division d’Assistance Electorale à la MINUSCA

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La République centrafricaine reste un Etat fragile du point de vue politique, sécuritaire, économique, social et institutionnel. Après des décennies de conflit politico-armé, le retour à l’ordre constitutionnel en 2016 fut un pas important pour le pays. Les élections présidentielle, législatives et locales de 2020/2021, offrent à la République et au peuple centrafricain l’opportunité de franchir une étape décisive dans leur quête collective d’une paix durable et de stabilité politique, sans lesquelles aucune démocratie n’est viable. Ces élections sont tout autant nécessaires et essentielles pour un retour définitif à l’ordre constitutionnel et au jeu démocratique qui impliquent le respect de la durée et du nombre de mandats des élus d’une part, ainsi que l’exercice par le peuple souverain de son pouvoir d’appréciation de la performance de ses gouvernants et de son droit d’élire ses représentants d’autre part. C’est là tout le sens de la maturation d’une culture démocratique attendue du processus électoral en RCA qui doit être crédible et pacifique, pour générer un impact sur la consolidation de la paix et accroitre des opportunités d’investissement économique et de partage des dividendes de la paix. …

by Arsène T. Gbaguidi, Director of the Electoral Assistance Division, UN Mission in Central African Republic

The Central African Republic remains a fragile State. After decades of armed political conflict, the return to constitutional order in 2016 was an important step for the country. Presidential and legislative elections, scheduled for 27 December, and local elections slated for 2021, offer Central Africans the opportunity to take a decisive step in their quest for lasting peace and political stability. These elections are necessary for both a definitive return to constitutional order and for participation in the democratic process. …


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