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 & 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.
The United Nations Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, established within the Department of Peace Operations (formerly the Department of Peacekeeping Operations) 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.
The United Nations Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) includes five components: Police Division; Justice and Corrections Service; Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section; Security Sector Reform Unit; and UN Mine Action Service.
Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI)
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.
Dynamic and innovative, OROLSI is constantly evolving to address new challenges and evolving threats to peace and security. From operations to strategy, the Office oversees a wide spectrum of cross-cutting activities, including recruiting and selecting thousands of professionals for international deployment; mobilizing resources for vital programmes; supporting peacekeeping operations and special political missions; developing doctrine, guidance and training; and partnering with United Nations entities, regional organizations, Member States and academia.
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.
Supporting rule of law and security institutions serves short-term goals of prevention and long-term goals of sustainable peace. As a breakdown in law and order, or vulnerabilities in the rule of law and security institutions is a main trigger of conflict, preventive measures such as training, analysis and mapping, and capacity building to ensure national and local authorities enjoy the requisite credibility and authority can mitigate triggers for societal unrest and discord. Furthermore, strong rule of law and security institutions are a sine qua non for sustainable economic and political development. These issues remain critical in a number of contexts where there is not an ongoing UN peace operation.
In April 2017, the Secretary-General appointed Alexandre Zouev as Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peace Operations.
In his 2017 Report “Restructuring of the United Nations Peace and Security Pillar” (A/72/525), Secretary-General António Guterres noted that, “The Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, led by an Assistant Secretary-General, will provide operational and advisory support to rule of law and security sector institutions, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and mine action. It will ensure systematic collaboration with all relevant United Nations and non-United Nations actors, as is currently done through the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections Areas in the Rule of Law in Post-Conflict and Other Crisis Situations and inter-agency working groups on security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. The Police Division and other components of the Office would work with the single political-operational structure to support stabilization and help to carry out protection-related tasks in field missions, as well as capacity-building and advisory functions.”
United Nations Police (UNPOL) enhance international peace and security by supporting Member States in conflict, post-conflict and other crisis situations to realize effective, efficient, representative, responsive and accountable police services that serve and protect the population. Consisting of over 11,000 officers from 88 countries of which 11 per cent are women, United Nations Police build and support, or, where mandated, act as a substitute or partial substitute for host-State police capacity to prevent and detect crime, protect life and property and maintain public order and safety in adherence to the rule of law and international human rights norms. The Police Division supports deployed United Nations Police in the implementation of their mandated tasks by selecting, recruiting, deploying and rotating personnel in missions; developing policy and guidance and defining parameters of international police peacekeeping; providing strategic and operational support, including through the Standing Police Capacity, and facilitating assessments and evaluations.
The Standing Police Capacity is the operational wing of the United Nations Police Division, comprising experts tasked with assisting the fulfillment of the strategic mission of the UN Police by providing effective, and coherent policing expertise.
Justice and Corrections Service
The Justice and Corrections Service supports the work of justice and corrections components in United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions around the world. Together, we assist host countries to deliver basic justice and prison services, strengthen criminal justice systems and facilitate rule of law reforms. Justice and corrections interventions contribute to improving security, preventing conflict, protecting civilians, extending the authority of the State and promoting accountability for serious crimes that fuel conflict. By strengthening the rule of law, justice and corrections components in peace operations further the overall political objectives of the mission to bring about and sustain peace.
The Justice and Corrections Standing Capacity is a small team of Justice and Corrections experts who deploy to United Nations peace operations, typically during Mission start-up, surge, and transition phases.
Covering 2019 operations, here is the 2020 Justice and Corrections Standing Capacity (JCSC) newsletter.
Global Focal Point for 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). The GFP is a United Nations platform co-chaired by the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), designed to strengthen the provision of rule of law assistance to address and prevent violent conflict, to protect human rights and to restore justice and security for conflict-affected people. The GFP is a field-focused arrangement that enables United Nations entities, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN Women and others, to jointly pursue shared objectives, in accordance with their mandates and capacities. GFP partners promote United Nations norms and standards, including gender mainstreaming and human rights-based approaches.
Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section
Through a process of removing weapons from the hands of members of armed groups, taking these combatants out of their groups and helping them to reintegrate as civilians into society, the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section seeks to support ex-combatants and those associated with armed groups, so that they can become active participants in the peace process. In complex environments, this is often supported by Community Violence Reduction - an approach to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration that plays a key role in reducing tensions at the grassroots level while increasing opportunities for social cohesion and conflict resolution – thus creating space for political processes and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
Security Sector Reform Unit
The Security Sector Reform Unit, located within the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), Department of Peace Operations (DPO), is the focal point and technical resource capacity on SSR for the United Nations system, as well as national and international partners.
The Security Sector Reform Unit leads the United Nations system in the implementation of Security Council resolution 2151 (2014) on security sector reform. It provides political, strategic, and technical assistance to Member States, United Nations senior leadership, peace operations, United Nations country teams, and regional and sub-regional partners involved in supporting national security sector reform efforts. The Unit supports the development of national security policy-making and planning, the coordination of international security sector reform assistance, and resource mobilization for national SSR efforts. The Unit is mandated to develop system-wide policy and guidance on security sector reform, including on defence sector reform and in coordination with the United Nations Inter-Agency SSR Task Force, for which the Unit provides the secretariat.
The Unit also fosters international dialogue on security sector reform, including in close collaboration with the Group of Friends of security sector reform, which is co-chaired by Slovakia and South Africa and consists of more than 40 members. As part of these efforts, the Unit supports events and discussions between Member States, experts, and United Nations practitioners on all aspects of security sector reform policy, best practices, and lessons learned.
To facilitate regional security sector reform efforts, the Unit has developed partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations on behalf of the United Nations to enable the Organisation to respond to increasing demands for its security sector reform support.
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
Mine Action entails more than removing landmines from the ground. It includes high impact efforts aimed at protecting people from danger, helping victims become self-sufficient and active members of their communities and providing opportunities for stability and sustainable development.
The objective of mine action is to identify and reduce the impact and risk of landmines and explosive hazards to a level where people are safe.
Get involved and donate to the mine action work of the United Nations by visiting unmas.org.
Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16
Sustainable Development Goal 16 calls to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels,” and includes targets on security, access to justice, combating illicit flows and organized crime, fighting corruption, developing accountable and effective institutions, and ensuring representative participation in decision-making at all levels. It also serves as an enabler for the entire 2030 Agenda with its linkages between peace, justice and strong institutions and other SDGs on education, gender equality, partnerships, sustainable cities and communities. Thus, security and justice are fundamental parts of both the conflict prevention spectrum and the sustainable development agenda. Challenges related to rule of law and security institutions – as well as armed groups operating outside of these institutions – are most often part of the problem in fragile settings; responding to related challenges must therefore be part of the solution.
In the increasingly complex environments where the UN is deployed, OROLSI has witnessed the fruits of its labour extend well beyond the delivery of its peace and security mandated tasks by catalyzing institutional and community-level changes requisite to stabilize countries and create the conditions for sustainable development. Through the work of the Justice and Corrections Service, OROLSI lays the foundation for peaceful societies with accountable and transparent institutions. United Nations Police support Member States in conflict, post-conflict and other crisis situations to realize effective, representative, responsive and accountable police services. Support provided by the Security Sector Reform Unit serves as a preventative measure and is often a determining factor for early recovery, sustainable peacebuilding and longer-term development. The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section plays a key role in reducing tensions at the grassroots level while increasing opportunities for social cohesion, economic development and conflict resolution. And, through the removal of mines and explosive remnants of war, the UN Mine Action Service facilitates economic recovery and development by training local youth and enabling communities to safely cultivate their land, access water, trade their goods and travel safely on roads to their schools, hospitals and places of employment.
Extra-Budgetary (XB) Project Proposals for 2020
Extra-budgetary support is critical to the delivery of UN initiatives and programmes not covered by the regular budget. Member States' voluntary financing of such initiatives help us better address the immediate challenges faced by peace operations and improve the impact of our operations. For OROLSI, extra-budgetary contributions also enable our direct support to Member States (non-Mission settings) as well as to UN special political missions and other field-based offices.
Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions
- Enhancing the Capacity of the United Nations Police and Host-States to Address Transnational Threats (TNT)
Justice and Corrections Service
Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section
Security Sector Reform Unit
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
- Secretary General’s mandated Independent Progress Study on Youth and Peace and Security A/72/761 – S/2018/86 (2 March 2018)
- Secretary General’s Report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace A/72/707 – S/2018/43 (18 January 2018)
- Secretary General’s Implementation Report to the C-34 A/72/573 (3 November 2017)
- Secretary General’s Annual Report on Women and Peace and Security S/2017/861 (16 October 2017)
- Secretary General’s Report on the Restructuring of the Peace and Security Pillar A/72/525 (13 October 2017)
- Secretary General’s Annual Report on Strengthening and Coordinating United Nations Rule of Law Activities A/72/268 (1 August 2017)