NEW OROLSI GUIDANCE IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
In response to the global pandemic, the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) has prepared operational guidance to support mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses particular risks to prisons and other places of detention, especially in conflict-affected settings, requiring critical preparedness and concerted and coordinated responses. The Operational Toolbox: COVID-19 Preparedness and Response in Places of Detention, developed by the Justice and Corrections Service of the Department of Peace Operations jointly with UNITAR and the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, provides comprehensive and ready-to-use communication tools with clear information and visual posters to support prison administrators and staff in the efforts to prevent COVID-19 from entering prisons, guidance on the immediate measures required to decongest prisons and guidance to help ensure access to justice through remote alternatives and court hearings during and after outbreak.
The UN Police (UNPOL) has outlined procedures to be followed by personnel in their daily operations during or in anticipation of the COVID-19 pandemic in their host communities. UNPOL has also provided a synopsis of the factors that a police agency must consider when writing plans to address operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2020 the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) incorporated COVID-19 awareness material from the World Health Organization into its risk education curriculum . Mine action officers were able to reach remote areas during the first weeks of the pandemic and took advantage of this access to share this important information.
Rule of law and security institutions, both national and local, are vital elements for stabilizing countries and bringing sustainable peace.
Through systematic and targeted measures, UN Peacekeeping addresses the situation of those individuals and communities most affected by conflict, with the overarching goal of assisting national political processes, conflict resolution and stabilization.
UN Peacekeeping assists countries to strengthen the rule of law by restoring and maintaining security, protecting civilians, paving the way to peacebuilding, reconstructing communities and creating the enabling conditions for sustainable peace.
Rule of law activities in peacekeeping are people-centred initiatives. They are tailored to local realities and assist communities to produce concrete peace dividends, such as access to basic services through mine/explosive hazard removal.
UN Peacekeeping also supports the rule of law by providing interim stability or security measures, such as mixed patrols in Mali, local ceasefires in Darfur, informal and community-led security arrangements in Abyei and local peace agreements in the Central African Republic.
In countries emerging from violent conflict, the threads that hold society together, along with a sense of trust and justice, can be badly damaged. For example, armed combatants may roam free, while local police may be feared and old grievances continue to simmer.
Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI)
The United Nations Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), established within the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) in 2007, deploys peacekeepers who, as early peacebuilders, assist conflict-affected countries in re-establishing the rule of law and security institutions necessary to build and sustain peace. Read more
OROLSI includes five components Police Division; Justice and Corrections Service; United Nations Mine Action Service; Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section; and Security Sector Reform Unit. On the ground, more than 15,000 rule of law and security professionals are fulfilling a wide range of essential tasks, including national capacity and institution building. Police peacekeepers patrol crime hotspots alongside officers from national law enforcement agencies. Weapons experts educate civilians on the risks of explosive hazards. Judicial and corrections officers help ensure that all citizens be treated equally under the law. DDR specialists help former fighters reintegrate into society. Security sector reform advisers ensure that oversight and accountability are built into police, defence and intelligence services.
As a specialized capacity, OROLSI deploys high quality technical expertise and advisory support at the request of host-Governments to assist conflict-affected countries to re-establish the rule of law and security institutions necessary to build and sustain peace. Beginning in January 2019, OROLSI began its function as the UN system-wide service provider for technical support in the areas of rule of law and security institutions to UN peace operations and to Member States and UN system entities in non-UN mission settings.
Focus on the Field
OROLSI is first and foremost, field- oriented. The Office is currently present in the following 10 UN peacekeeping operations: MINUSCA (Central African Republic), MINUSMA (Mali), MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of Congo), UNMISS (South Sudan), UNAMID (Darfur), UNISFA (Abyei, South Sudan), UNFICYP (Cyprus), UNMIK (Kosovo), MINURSO (Western Sahara), and UNIFIL (Lebanon). In addition, OROLSI is also providing support to 10 special political missions: UNSOM (Somalia), UNSMIL (Libya), UNAMI (Iraq), UNAMA (Afghanistan), UNIOGBIS (Guinea-Bissau), UNOAU (African Union), UNOWAS (West Africa and the Sahel), UNVMC (Colombia), OSESG-Y (Yemen), OSESG-B (Burundi).
OROLSI has established nimble standing capacities with expertise in policing, justice and corrections. These teams can deploy within seven days to support newly established peace operations, support missions in times of crisis, help provide surge capacity and otherwise respond to needs as they arise. OROLSI has also generated other quickly deployable capacities through rosters, rapid reaction teams and similar stand-by arrangements.
The Justice and Corrections Standing Capacity is part of the Justice and Corrections Service. It is a small team of rapidly deployable rule of law, justice and corrections experts, who assist justice and corrections components or missions’ leadership in United Nations peace operations (particularly during mission start-up, surge, and transition phases). Their support encompasses a wide range of rule of law issues, including strengthening professional, accountable and legitimate rule of law institutions that provide space for political dialogue, creating a protective environment for civilians, extending State authority, improving prison security and management, and ensuring accountability for serious crimes that can fuel conflict. In accordance with OROLSI’s role as system-wide provider, under the auspices of the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law, the JCSC may also be requested to provide support and expertise to non-mission entities or settings. This may include support to United Nations partners, agencies, funds and programmes, including but not limited to GFP partners, and Resident Coordination Offices.
The United Nations Standing Police Capacity is the rapidly deployable operational wing of the United Nations Police Division tasked with providing the start-up capability for the police components of new United Nations peace operations, along with providing advice, expertise and assistance in the field of institutional law enforcement capacity building. The second task has, over time, evolved in line with the requirements of the United Nations system, as recognized in Security Council resolution 2382 (2017), which welcomed the support of the Standing Police Capacity to other United Nations entities through the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections arrangement, as well as its work in providing rapid, coherent, effective and responsive start-up and assistance capability for police components in peace operations.
Both OROLSI Standing Capacities are based out of the United Nations Global Service Centre/United Nations Logistics Base (UNGSC-UNLB) in Brindisi, Italy.
Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law
A positive example of an integrated, delivery-oriented approach is the work of the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law (GFP). Established in 2012 by the United Nations Secretary-General, the GFP is a coordination platform aimed at enhancing the coherence and efficiency of system-wide rule of law support to mission, non-mission and transition settings. At UNHQ, the GFP is co-chaired by Department of Peace Operations and the United Nations Development Programme and it comprises of partners such as the Rule of Law Unit of the Secretary-General Executive Office (EOSG), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Women and other UN entities that jointly pursue shared objectives.
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The GFP helps improve delivery on the ground with a view to preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of violent conflict. Drawing on the comparative advantage and capacity of its partners, the GFP provides rapid deployments of expertise; support to the design, planning and implementation of joint rule of law programmes; catalytic financial support to rule of law funding; and knowledge sharing.
Sustaining Peace through Rule of Law and Security Institutions
As a result of OROLSI's efforts, UN Peacekeeping today also has an increased role in the area of conflict prevention, prevention of violent extremism, counter terrorism, stabilization and peace sustainment and local/community dynamics.
Working together, OROLSI’s five components provide holistic support to United Nations peace operations and special political missions, providing a full cycle of related activities, from doctrine development, capacity building, community liaison, training and generation of personnel to technical expertise, lessons learned and transition planning. Working side-by-side with national authorities, a focus on the rule of law and security institutions can guide countries on the difficult road from conflict to sustainable peace.
Within UN initiatives to prevent conflict, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) contributes to building confidence, facilitating local peacebuilding, and supporting people-centered stabilization efforts. Mine action does this in a number of ways including through employment of individuals from affected communities, including youth and former combatants and through the management and destruction of explosive materials that could be used to destabilize peace processes.
Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict
Experts from OROLSI’s Justice and Corrections Service and Police Division; Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are part of a Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict (Team of Experts), which was created under Security Council resolution 1888 (2009). The Team of Experts focuses its efforts on strengthening the capacity of national rule of law and justice actors, including in specialized areas such as: criminal investigation and prosecution; collection and preservation of evidence; military justice system investigation and prosecution; criminal and procedural law reform; and protection of victims, witnesses and justice officials.
To date, the Team of Experts has supported national authorities in a number of countries, including the Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Iraq, Liberia, Mali, Somalia and South Sudan.
For more information on the Team of Experts, please see: http://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/about-us/team-of-experts/.
Government-provided personnel are experts nominated by their government for service with United Nations peace operations. The use of government-provided personnel - individuals with specialized expertise, key knowledge and skills - is a means of benefiting from the expertise of governments of Member States required by the United Nations to carry out the mandates of peace operations.
Explosive ordnance disposal experts are regularly seconded by Member States to the UN Mine Action Service, at its headquarters and in field programmes. Government-provided personnel most commonly provide advisory, capacity-building and mentoring support to national counterparts in specialized functions for which expertise is required. Such niche expert skills are generally only found in government services and thus most effectively drawn from Member States. Government-provided personnel bring a wide range of expertise to peace operations, including in military justice and prosecutions, training, custodial management, prison security and policy development.
Justice and corrections Government-provided personnel also provide niche expert skills that are generally only found in government services, such as national prison services, the judiciary and prosecution authorities among others, and thus most effectively drawn from Member States. Government-provided personnel bring a wide range of expertise to peace operations, including in military justice and prosecutions, training, custodial management, prison security and policy development. While Government-provided personnel most commonly provide advisory, capacity-building and mentoring support to national counterparts in specialized functions for which expertise is required, some also perform operational prison security functions, depending on the mission mandate.
Justice and corrections experts interested in serving as government-provided personnel with United Nations peace operations must be nominated by their governments. The Justice and Corrections Service is the designated focal point for all issues related to the selection, recruitment, deployment, rotation, transfer and repatriation of justice and corrections government-provided personnel. The Justice and Corrections Service routinely issues calls for nominations of experts for service as justice and corrections government-provided personnel. The nomination of women and French-speaking candidates is particularly encouraged.
Selected officers most often serve for an initial period of 12 months, with the possibility of a six or 12-month extension. When individuals deploy as Government-provided personnel, contributing Member States continue to provide their national salary and entitlements, while the United Nations provides Mission Subsistence Allowance, medical coverage, and assumes the deployment and repatriation costs upon completion of the Government-provided personnel’s tour of duty.
As of June 2020, approximately 300 justice and corrections Government-provided personnel serve in nine United Nations peace operations.
The conditions of service and areas of engagement of justice and corrections Government-provided personnel are outlined in the following documents available at www.peacekeeping.un.org:
- Standard Operating Procedures for Government-Provided Corrections Personnel on Assignment with United Nations Peace Operations and Special Political Missions
- Guidelines on Non-Uniformed Civilian Government-Provided Personnel on Assignment with United Nations Peace Operations and Special Political Missions
- Policy on Justice Support in United Nations Peace Operations
- Policy on Prison Support in United Nations Peace Operations
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