OHCHR, UNFICYP and DPO Standing Police Capacity organise three-day training for the Mission's Police Component on human rights awareness

3 Oct 2019

OHCHR, UNFICYP and DPO Standing Police Capacity organise three-day training for the Mission's Police Component on human rights awareness

From 1-3 October 2019,  UNFICYP’s Police Component, in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Police Division’s Standing Police Capacity (SPC) of the United Nations Department of Peace Operations (DPO), hosted a training course

on human rights for United Nations Police (UNPOL) officers deployed to Cyprus.

The three-day course was held at the Ledra Palace Hotel, UNFICYP Sector 2, in the UN-administered Buffer Zone and aimed to provide UNPOL officers mandate-specific human rights guidance as well as address the human rights challenges they may face while interacting with local communities on the ground. 

Speaking about the relevance of the course, UNFICYP Acting Senior Police Adviser, Dongxu Su stated that “While UNFICYP does not have an explicit human rights mandate, as UNPOL, and indeed as peacekeepers in general, promoting awareness about human rights among our ranks is an integral aspect of the work we do in conflict-affected societies.”

Chief Superintendent Su further highlighted that UNPOL peacekeepers are required to adhere to international human rights standards in all dealings with host communities and local law enforcement institutions. “UNPOL leads by example. I am confident that this highly interactive and practice-focused training has enabled our UNPOL officers to consistently integrate essential human rights awareness in their daily interactions with communities living on the island and local policing partners to ensure calm and stability in the Buffer Zone,” he added. 

Additionally, Mary Kennedy, an UNPOL Officer from Ireland who participated in the course said, “As a career police officer, I have always been mindful of complying with internationally accepted human rights standards. This course has enhanced my knowledge and taught me practical, effective ways to handle human rights issues arising in field locations within the context of UN peacekeeping in a sensitive and respectful manner.”

The Charter of the United Nations establishes promoting and encouraging respect for human rights as one of the primary purposes of the Organisation. It was signed on 26 June 1945 and came into force on 24 October 1945.

OHCHR is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote and protect human rights across the world. It works closely with DPO, its Police Division and the Integrated Training Service to ensure that human rights are consistently integrated into the policy framework and related training materials that guide the work of military, police and civilian components of UN peace operations worldwide. 

The SPC, established by the United Nations General Assembly and composed of 36 highly experienced police officers and civilian personnel, provides start-up capability for the police components of new UN peace operations and provides advice, expertise and assistance in the field of institutional law enforcement capacity to mission and non-mission settings.

UNPOL has been a part of UNFICYP since 14 April 1964 and works collaboratively with the Mission’s military and civilian components to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order as well as manage civilian activity in the Buffer Zone, thereby assisting in the return to normal conditions within UNFICYP’s area of operations.