posted on Tue 1 Mar 2016 5:41 PM
Arria-Formula Meeting with Human Rights Components in Peace Operations

Tomorrow (2 March) New Zealand and Uruguay are co-hosting a closed Arria-formula meeting with the heads of human rights components of five UN peace operations. Council members have used the closed Arria-formula format to meet with the heads of human rights components of different operations on two previous occasions: the February 2012 meeting organised by Portugal and Togo, and the January 2015 meeting organised by Lithuania. It seems this year the organisers wanted to take the opportunity to build on what has been done in the past two years, as well as follow-up on the implementation of the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) report.

The meeting aims to give Council members an opportunity to have an informal exchange about the particulars of human rights work in different peace operations, to better understand how human rights components contribute to the implementation of missions’ mandates and to gain insights into the daily work of human rights professionals in the different conflict and post-conflict environments. Currently, more than 800 human rights staff members are working in nine peacekeeping operations and five special political missions.
The participating heads of human rights components will be:

  • Jose Maria Aranaz of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO);
  • Isha Dyfan of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation for Darfur (UNAMID);
  • Francesco Motta of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI);
  • Guillaume Ngefa of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA); and
  • Musa Gassama of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

In an attempt to make the session more interactive, the heads of human rights components from MINUSMA, UNAMI and UNAMID will speak first, followed by a question and answer session. The heads of the human rights components from MONUSCO and MINUSMA will then provide a shorter briefing on their work. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović will also participate and provide concluding remarks.

Members may want to discuss how human rights components contribute to the overall implementation of missions’ mandates and, in particular, to the mandates’ protective and preventive aspects. In this respect, there might be interest in the way in which language in resolutions has an impact on how effectively human rights components are able to operate in mission settings, and ways in which Council members’ engagement can positively support this work, as well as the components’ relationship with other stakeholders.

Given the high threat environment that missions such as MINUSMA and UNAMI are operating in, members are expected to have questions about the challenges of carrying out Council mandates in such increasingly complex environments. Another area that may be of interest to some members is how the human rights components contribute to conflict prevention. In this regard, Gassama is expected to share MINUSCA’s experience in promoting an adequate environment for the recent elections in CAR.

This will be the first meeting of Council members with the heads of human rights components since the publication of the Secretary-General’s report on the Future of Peace Operations (S/2015/682) following the HIPPO report (S/2015/446). In this context, members may be interested in discussing one of the recommendations of the peace operations review regarding the need to increase the quality and coherence of the analysis and reporting on human rights issues, and in gaining an understanding of the effect of consolidating specialised protection functions relating to child protection and conflict-related sexual violence within mission human rights components. Council members might also be interested in learning more about the role that human rights components in peace operations play in investigating the human rights record and performance of troops and police, as well as instances of sexual exploitation and abuse by personnel of UN missions and others operating under a Council mandate. There may also be interest in hearing about the experience of missions such as MINUSCA and MINUSMA, where troops were “rehatted” from an AU to a UN mission.

(On Thursday, 3 March 2016 from 1.15pm to 2.45pm in the Trusteeship Council the Mission of Sweden and the New York office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will host a meeting with the five heads of peace operations human rights components that will be open to all member states, UN Secretariat and Agencies, Funds and Programmes staff, as well as to civil society representatives.)