Over the past decade, the United Nations has increasingly mandated for the protection of civilians (POC) in peacekeeping operations. Under these mandates, UN peacekeeping missions must consider how best to protect civilians within their capabilities and resources. Experiences from these past missions have both identified the need for targeted training of peacekeepers about POC that provides accumulated knowledge and expertise. No longer is the international community debating the question of whether to protect – but rather, how to protect?
The Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence, in partnership with the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) and other significant stakeholders, including the Department of Defence and the Australian Agency for International Development, is producing a groundbreaking documentary on the Protection of Civilians in Peace Operations.
The documentary will form an important component of the UNITAR online training program and will be used as an educational tool for personnel deployed on United Nations peacekeeping missions. It is envisaged that the documentary will also be used by Australian Government agencies in training courses, to promote awareness about the protection of civilians and to strengthen relationships with international stakeholders.
The documentary opens with an introduction from Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and comprises of interviews with leaders from prominent UN agencies including the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the United Nations Human High Commission for Refugees and the Office of Humanitarian Affairs, the African Union, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other actors including non-governmental organizations, academics and individuals who have served in international peacekeeping missions.
The interviewees provide insights on POC in conflict zones both past and present. They also discuss some of the ongoing challenges to the implementation of POC and talk about positive developments they have experienced in overcoming these challenges.
This documentary acknowledges that POC has become a thematic concern of the Security Council and a mandated task of peacekeepers and seeks to contribute to the field of knowledge regarding its implementation. The documentary will be completed in October this year.
Amy Rosnell is the Centre’s Protection of Civilians Officer
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