UNFICYP bids farewell to Senior Police Adviser Fang Li
Today, UNFICYP bid farewell to its Senior Police Adviser, Fang Li, after serving for peace on the island for a year. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senior Police Adviser faced unique challenges, as did the entire UNPOL component. UNPOL’s operations and activities where significantly affected by the consequent safety risks and restrictions and the component’s functional capacity and efficiency faced multiple challenges.
For instance, the crossing points between both sides were closed to contain the spread of the virus. Occasionally, civilians ended up being trapped in the buffer zone. This led to an increased number of incidents and demonstrations at crossing points thus escalating the tension. Considering the crossing points were closed, UNPOL also witnessed a two-fold increase in its humanitarian assistance related duties. These duties largely related to facilitating both sides to ensure passage across the crossing points for medication, patient treatment, repatriation of foreign nationals and postmortem assistance.
Imposed social distancing and movement restrictions also had an impact on UPOL’s operational capacity, rotations and trainings. Nevertheless, UNPOL leadership rose to the challenge and took steps to implement new protocols, new skill sets and knowledge of UNPOL officers through welfare schemes and online training.
Adapting to new circumstances and procedures was a challenging task. The component had to be prepared to deal with additional challenges that arose from the pandemic in a professional manner and following the UN mandate.
The nature of activities in the buffer zone were routine like, with an addition of crossing point incidents. Illegal dumping, incursions, hunting, fires, and unauthorized construction remained the core issues for UNPOL, which carried out a larger number of general and targeted patrols.
Fang Li ensured UNPOL’s operational vitality and contribution to the delivery of the Mission mandate along with the safety of the communities and UNPOL officers. Under Li’s leadership, UNPOL continued to fulfill its mandated objectives as well as maintain productive and cooperative relationships with key stakeholders, particularly local law enforcement agencies and community groups.