To give UN Police the means to take action at every stage of peacebuilding [fr]
Briefing by Police Commissioners
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 6 November 2018
I would first like to thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this annual and always very useful meeting. I also thank Assistant Secretary-General Alexandre Zouev, who is a remarkable polyglot, the Police Commissioners here today and Ms. Reitano for their briefings, which enable us to better understand the challenges facing United Nations police forces on the ground. Like my colleagues before me, I would also like to pay a warm tribute to the men and women police officers and gendarmes, who are sometimes deployed in very difficult security conditions, for their critical work and contribution to peacekeeping and the protection of civilians.
The new challenges to peacekeeping efforts also raise questions about the role and activities of the United Nations Police in peacekeeping. In that regard, I want to fully endorse the statements by the representatives of the Netherlands and Sweden, particularly with regard to the role of the police in enforcing the rule of law and the importance of a gender approach tailored to the protection of women.
The Action for Peacekeeping reform initiative launched by the Secretary-General, which France firmly supports, must also be implemented in United Nations policing. To that end, I would like to draw the Security Council’s attention to three areas.
The first is improving police performance in peacekeeping operations and special political missions. Police officers must be given the means to take action at every stage of peacebuilding. Collective, proactive, long-term action is needed in order to establish the indicators for evaluating police action and improving its effectiveness in combating acts of violence or transnational crime. Training issues are key, of course. The contributing countries have to train police contingents, but they must also train the police services in the countries hosting United Nations peacekeeping operations. The people must be given the policing services they need, a condition essential to successful transitions and to ensuring peacekeeping operations’ orderly departure.
The second area is encouraging the representation of women in police forces. I particularly have in mind ensuring increased numbers of women in contingents and police personnel, which is happening but needs further progress. The Secretary-General’s goals are ambitious but attainable. Police forces must ensure respect for human rights and equal treatment before the law for all. They must also be able to communicate with the populations they protect. Strengthening linguistic capacities suited to deployment areas is crucial in that regard.
The third area I want to emphasize is the importance of placing the United Nations Police in a framework that matches the importance of their role. The police presence is there at every stage of peace operations, from prevention to consolidation. The police must therefore have the right skills, whether for planning, force generation, crisis management or leadership. Against that backdrop, we have high expectations of the Secretary-General’s report on the police, which we called for last year through the adoption of resolution 2382 (2017). Now seems a perfect time to embrace the reforms that the Secretary-General has called for. We must set the United Nations Police ambitious targets. France intends to be a willing and constructive partner in that project.
You have encouraged us to be interactive, Mr. President, and I therefore have some questions for the Police Commissioners. My first is for Police Commissioner Therriault. The police component clearly plays a central role in the implementation of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Support of Justice in Haiti. With less than a year to go before a transition to a non-peacekeeping United Nations presence, what lessons can he draw from the Organization’s efforts to strengthen the Haitian National Police, and what kind of impact will that have on the Haitian judicial system?
I also have a question for Police Commissioner Abdounasir on the French-speaking world. We know it is important for Police Commissioners to be able to communicate effectively with the people on the ground and with host countries’ national forces. Do the various relevant missions have enough French-speaking police personnel?
Finally, I have a question for Police Commissioner Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa. She spoke of the great efforts and progress made by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in combating sexual violence in conflicts. What does she still need in order to make better progress in that regard?