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General Debate on the Human Rights Components of Peacekeeping Missions
March 27, 2014

Item 10 General Debate Intervention on the Human Rights Components of Peacekeeping Missions

Delivered by Tabitha Snowbarger

United Nations Human Rights Council – 25th Session
Geneva, March 27, 2014

Thank you, Madam Vice President,

  • The United States would like to thank the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for its continued support of human rights units within peacekeeping missions around the world.  These units help prevent human rights violations and abuses by establishing  early warning mechanisms, advocating on behalf of communities, and providing advice and support to local governments on institutional reform and capacity building.
  • The United States calls attention to the exemplary work of the human rights unit in the Mali peacekeeping mission. The human rights unit has conducted protection assessments in areas prone to inter-communal violence. It has facilitated human rights training for NGOs, civil society organizations, police officers, and the Malian military. In addition, the human rights unit continues to organize dialogues to lay the groundwork for more robust national reconciliation initiatives.
  • The United States also recognizes the human rights units in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for supporting governmental capacity building efforts.  On December 4, 2013,the Haitian Office of the Ombuds person received its international accreditation. In addition, the Inter-Ministerial Commission on Human Rights recently became operational. In the DRC, the human rights unit partnered with the government to create the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) Profiling Project. The project is successfully identifying, and removing from office, state security officers who have committed human rights violations.
  • While we celebrate the successes of the UN’s human rights units, we are concerned about the challenges they continue to face. The work of the rule of law, police and human rights units’ activities should be better integrated within each mission. In addition, because mission leaders remain concerned about securing enough funds to hire the required personnel, the United States urges OHCHR to enhance its financial support for human rights units within UN missions.  To do so while respecting its overall budgetary constraints, we encourage OHCHR to re-direct funds from lower-priority objectives. By enhancing support for human rights units, the UN will increase the peacekeeping capacity of each mission.

Thank you.