Statement by State Secretary Hans-Georg Engelke in the Security Council VTC briefing on United Nations peacekeeping operations: Police Commissioners, November 4

04.11.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

Madame President,

Distinguished members of the Security Council,

I would like to thank Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for having convened this meeting. I also would like to thank the briefers for their interesting insights and their work. I want to pay tribute to the police commissioners present here today and to all police officers in line of duty for the United Nations with their dedication, skills and commitment. As of today, a total of 8,890 police officers are serving in 12 peacekeeping and special political missions in different regions in the world. Among them, there are German police officers in Kosovo, Mali and Somalia; and in the future again in Sudan. Those officers are not the first ones serving for the United Nations, and for sure, they won’t be the last ones.

Germany has been deploying police officers since 1989. Two German contingents were part of the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group - UNTAG in Namibia. One formed by officers from the western part of Germany, and the other by officers from the former East German Democratic Republic. Those officers witnessed on TV and on the radio, how thousands of people crossed the inner German border and danced on the Berlin wall 31 years ago on 9th of November 1989. For them, the beginning of the reunification took place far away from home while serving for the UN. There is only one Germany now, and Germany today deploys police officers from the Federal Police as well as from the State Police Services.

This week, we are commemorating the 60th anniversary of United Nations Po-lice. The success story of UNPOL started in 1960, when the first police officers were deployed to the United Nations Operation in the Congo – ONUC. The importance and the role of United Nations Police has grown significantly since then. This can be witnessed by looking at the numbers of deployed officers, namely from around 1,700 in 1994 further to the peak of almost 15,000 officers in 2010 and now, as already mentioned, almost 9,000 officers. But even more so, it can be witnessed by looking at the mandates UNPOL is implementing in field missions.

-UNPOL protects civilians, including the groups most vulnerable in conflict, such as internally displaced persons, women and children;

-UNPOL trains police officers of host states, in order for them to be able to deliver professional policing services to the people;

-UNPOL advises senior leadership of host state police services as well as Ministries of Internal Security, in order for them to build a professional police organization as per internationally recognized standards;

-UNPOL advices host states on how to better integrate women into their organizations and how to tackle crime that mainly affects women as victims, such as sexual and gender based violence; in order to strengthen the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in accordance with resolution 1325 and all subsequent resolutions on Women, Peace and Security.

-UNPOL provides policing assistance through its Standing Capacity to countries where no missions are deployed in order for them to further professionalize their police.

Madame President,

Sustainable peace can only be achieved, when governance is based on the rule of law and on human rights and when the rights of all people living in the country are respected and protected equally. Security and democratic policing is one of the most important services that a state has to provide. Without security, pro-vided by a people-oriented police, other objectives such as education, participation, development and prosperity are almost impossible to achieve. This is why United Nations Police are key to delivering on our joint commitment to sustaining peace and Action for Peacekeeping.

Challenged by the complexity of today’s conflicts and exposed to growingly complex mandates, it is essential that United Nations Police are resourced, staffed and trained as per the needs on the ground. This request goes to multiple partners;

This goes to the members of this council, whose responsibility it is to adopt responsive and realistic mandates as well as sufficient ceilings on police deployments in order to implement those mandates – in our term on the Council, we have worked very hard to steer mandates into this direction;

This request goes to the members of the 5th Committee, whose responsibility it is to provide appropriate resources to missions, including on programmatic funding;

This request goes to Police Contributing Countries, whose responsibility it is to provide only fully trained and properly vetted police officers, including the necessary equipment;

And this request also goes to the Secretariat, including its field missions, whose responsibility it is to provide the conceptual and strategic framework for United Nations Policing.

Therefore, the exchange of personnel and knowledge between the Member States and the Secretariat through seconded personnel and constant dialogue is essential. Policing is subject to permanent changes and new developments. Strategies, policies and standard operating procedures have to be adapted to those new realities. Also, recruitment processes in particular for Professional Posts are still taking way too long and are not sufficiently transparent for the candidates and the respective police contributing states.

We stand ready to provide our support: support with personnel, support by financial means and by providing substantive advice through member state consultation processes. We are supporting the reform of the UNPOL Training Architecture because we believe that a more focused and specialized training is key to a better performance of UNPOL. We are standing ready to make trainings provided by our police training institutions available to PCCs and missions utilizing the Light Coordination Mechanism.

On the substantive side, I am asking the Secretariat and the field missions to include more input on United Nations Policing in the reports of the Secretary-General. Unfortunately, very often there is not much more than just one paragraph on what UNPOL has been doing during the reporting period. This council has to be best informed about the substantive work of UNPOL in order to make informed decisions when considering mandates of field missions.

UNPOL was important for the success of missions in the past, it is important for success right now and UNPOL will become even more important in the future, including through an increased role in conflict prevention. We encourage all actors, the PCCs, the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Secretariat and host states to support the work of United Nations Police.

Madame President,

Please allow me in conclusion to address a question to our briefer on MINUSMA: What additional role of support can UNPOL/ MINUSMA play in the implementation of the ambitious transitional charter, especially with regards to security sector reform, rule of law and restoration of state services and authority?

I am looking forward to a constructive and informative discussion here at the Security Council. Let’s hope that the improvements and positive developments of recent years will keep momentum and that United Nations Police will be able to continue to serve the people who need this support most.

Distinguished members of the Council, Madame President, thank you very much for your attention.

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