The United Nations police, a necessary entity which must be sustained [fr]
Briefing by Police Commissioners
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 6 November 2019
I too would like to begin by paying tribute to the men and women police officers and commanders working today in United Nations peacekeeping missions in what are sometimes very difficult security situations.
Listening to Mr. Lacroix and the testimonies of our briefers today, we see clearly that it is particularly important to ensure that populations really feel the benefits of our peacekeeping operations, especially when it comes to improving their daily lives. We clearly see that police forces have a key role to play in that regard. The account provided by Ms. Marie-Joseph Fitah-Kona, Adviser to the Mayor of the Third Arrondissement of Bangui, whom I warmly thank for her participation today, is illustrative of that.France intends to be a willing and constructive partner in that area, and that is why we fully support the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, including the commitment, in that framework, to make the United Nations police more efficient and effective and better able to respond to the needs of the people. To that end, it is necessary that the United Nations police dispose of the appropriate capacities in terms of planning, force generation, crisis management and guidance.
In that regard, I will focus on three priority issues for us.
First, the police and gendarmerie personnel provided by contributing countries must offer genuine added value in terms of technical competence and operational capacity. The United Nations also needs their expertise within command structures. Accordingly, France is deploying a team of police officers specialized in explosives and forensic science to work within the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. We also provide experts in the areas of formed police units and planning within the Secretariat.
Secondly, we believe that the role of police units must be reappraised. While the Blue Helmet military contingents represent the bulk of uniformed personnel in any peacekeeping operation, police officers have a specific and indispensable role. Their presence sends a different message, which is that of a gradual return to normalcy linked to a reduced threat level and positive developments in the security situation. In that regard, local populations are generally well able to see that.The extremely special role of police units takes on special meaning during the transition phases. Indeed, as the number of Blue Helmets gradually decreases, the host State strengthens its sovereignty and the armed forces gradually take over, United Nations police units demonstrate that United Nations investment is not limited to the deployment of units, but that concern for local populations remains at the heart of the Security Council’s priorities. The Democratic Republic of the Congo comes to mind. In some provinces, as the Permanent Representative of Belgium underlined, police units can take over from peacekeeping units.
The last point that I want to emphasize is that increasing the female presence among contingents and police personnel is essential. We must continue to make progress in that area in accordance with the ambitious but obtainable, goals set by the Secretary-General. As several United Nations police missions have pointed out, there is a positive correlation between the participation of women in police forces and the stability and sustainability of peace processes. We have seen that in Liberia, where the inclusion of women in police forces helped to reduce sexual and gender-based violence during the day and especially at night. We regret that, despite those positive statistics, the inclusion of women in police forces remains glaringly insufficient, while we nevertheless welcome the efforts of the Department of Peace Operations to increase the number of women deployed.
I should like to conclude by asking several questions. My first question is general and addressed to each one of the briefers. What, broadly speaking, are the principle difficulties in carrying out their missions? My second question is addressed to all briefers and concerns the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in particular. How do they assess the capacities available to respond to the needs of victims of sexual and gender-based violence?Lastly, I have a question for Mr. Abdounasir, Police Commissioner of MONUSCO. His reference to MONUSCO’s efforts to counter organized crime by prioritizing the strengthening of the penal system was very useful. I would be equally interested to know what other information he might be able to share with us with regard to the activities that the police component of MONUSCO is carrying out in helping deal with the Ebola crisis.