Under the banner of 'Law. Order. Peace' the UN focuses this year on efforts to strengthen the rule of law on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
This includes the work of UN Police, Corrections Officers and Judicial Affairs Officers working in the field. They work to ensure the support of vital human rights, such as access to justice, and fair and impartial legal systems.
In late 2010, UN rule of law personnel was deployed across 17 peace missions, including approximately:
• 180 Judicial Affairs Officers
• 175 Corrections Officers
• 14,000 Police Officers (9.8% Female)
“Upholding the rule of law…is essential to successful peacekeeping,” says the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the Intenational Day: “That is why the United Nations trains police to never abuse their power, supports the proper functioning of courts to serve justice, and works for humane conditions of detention.”
Rule of law assistance is an essential tool that the United Nations relies upon to help maintain peace and security around the world and is fundamental to achieving a durable peace in the aftermath of conflict.
Since 1999, all major peacekeeping operations, and many special political missions, have had provisions to work with the host country to strengthen the rule of law.
Working to improve the rule of law in hotspots around the world.
When conflict strikes, chaos reins. Civilians are forced from their homes into bandit-infested streets and countryside. Courts, often fragile before the fighting broke out, cease to function altogether. Prisoners escape, adding to the havoc. Arms are everywhere and no one feels safe. Instead of being ruled by law, societies are plunged into lawlessness. The injustices that follow are too numerous to count and too grave to ignore.
The deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission can offer hope for a transition from chaos to calm. But for true security to take root, peacekeepers must do more than separate warring parties and disarm combatants. They must strengthen the institutions responsible for security and justice – the police, the courts and the correctional institutions – with full respect for the rule of law and human rights.
UN Police: less known but equally important
To reform the local police, the UN sends highly qualified police officers from around the world to provide training, monitor local police performance and help restructure and reform national and local police forces.
While UN Police may be less well-known than their military counterparts, their service to the United Nations is equally important and their numbers continue to grow - more than 14,000 now serve in 16 peacekeeping or special political missions worldwide.
The UN is also training and mentoring court and corrections personnel while helping build or rebuild courthouses and prisons.
For further information see:http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/issues/ruleoflaw/index.shtml
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