Presentation on the militarization of the UN Police and protection of civilians mandates

The annual conference of the 7th Japan Association for Human Security Studies was held at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan from 4 to 6 November 2017. I participated in the panel discussion on the issue of ‘human security in conflict and post-conflict’ with three presenters. Other presenters were Prof. Yuji Uesugi of Waseda University and Ms. Ako Muto of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Panel was chaired by Prof. Naoki Ishihara of Ritsumeikan University, and attended also by Prof. Miwa Hirono of Ritsumeikan University as a discussant. In my presentation, I questioned whether the rapid militarization of the UN Police, who serve in UN Peace Operations, and the rise of protection of civilians mandates are related. She introduced the evolution of the UN Police, and provided analysis of their mandates, tasks and types of personnel. She pointed out that the UN Police has been rapidly militarized after their emergence only in 1999. Their largest identified strength in the 1990s was their proximity to the community they serve for. Militarizing them is undermining the top strength they could offer. She then questioned whether this was related to the rise of protection of civilians (POC) mandates. In the process of mandate formation, it does not appear to be a strategic decision to increase POC mandates, and it also does not seem that the UN Police is militarized to respond to increasingly demanding POC mandates. It may rather be the volatile situation into which recent UN Peace missions are deployed that is determining the need for militarized personnel. She discussed the possibility that the budget and the ease of deployment process of militarized police may be contributing to the growth of militarized police units called Formed Police Units (FPUs).

In the same panel, Prof. Uesugi discussed the legitimacy of UN Transitional Administration in Timor-Leste, and introduced his view that local people were not systematically involved in the running of UN transitional administration. Ms. Ako Muto presented on her findings on the resilience approach to the conflict affected community with a case study on Syria.

The plenary of this two-day conference had Mr. Yukio Takasu, Special Adviser on Human Security to the UN Secretary-General, as the keynote speaker. He explored human security approach and alerted the audience that situations in Japan need to be analyzed with human security perspective. He introduced his upcoming project at Human Security Forum, a non-governmental organization attached to the University of Tokyo, to verify the level of human security achieved in each province in Japan.

Two plenary sessions followed his keynote speech. One was on Human Security and R2P from Regional Perspectives, with three distinguished speakers: Prof. Mely Caballero-Anthony of Rajaratham School of International Studies, Prof. Chiharu Takenaka of Rikkyo University, and Prof. Mitsugi Engo of the University of Tokyo. They spoke about regional perspectives on human security, in South East Asia, South Asia and Africa, respectively. The other plenary session was on the responsibility to protect and POC from security providers’ perspectives. Three speakers, Prof. Nanako Shimizu of Utsunomiya University, Prof. Yukie Osa of Rikkyo University and Prof. Rachel Julian of Leeds Beckett University, made presentations. Prof. Shimizu discussed on the limit of the UN as a world political organ. Prof. Osa spoke about the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and questioned whether ICTY has in fact divided the community by confirming a divided memory. Prof. Julian spoke about unarmed civilian peacekeeping, and argued that unarmed civilian peacekeepers can contribute significantly to keeping peace.

During the two-day conference, 10 thematic sessions were held on human security related issues.


Speech at the International Conference on Women, Peace and Security in the 21st Century


SEA panelI was invited to speak in two panels at the International Conference on Women, Peace and Security in the 21st Century – An East Asian Perspective, held in Seoul on 22-23 September, 2017, co-organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, International Journal on Peacekeeping and Korean Women’s Development Institute.


Six sessions of the conference addressed the foundation of the UN and women, peace and security, Advances made on women in conflict situations and in peacekeeping/building, sexual violence in conflict, the way forward on sexual abuse of women, means to enhance gender equity in peace and security, national plans of action, and civil society involvement.


Session I laid out the foundation on the conference theme. After the general foundation on gender and peace was explained by Prof. Lee Jeoung Oh of Daigu Catholic University,  my speech was on the legal development related to sexual violence during the conflict. She explained that since the 1990s, various forms of sexual violence have been recognized, codified and prosecuted as international crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The contribution of international tribunals has been analyzed, including the development of the definition of rape. She addressed that there has been a significant progress in the prosecution of sexual violence, but challenges remain. In addition, she introduced human rights obligations on States in relation to sexual crimes domestically, touching upon prevention, investigation and prosecution, and emphasized that these obligations remain during the conflict. Ms. Gaelle Demolis of UN Women then explained relevant UN resolutions, including Security Council 1325 and its implementation.


Session II had Prof. Park Soon-hyang at the PKO Center, Korea National Defence University, and Dr. Roisin Burke, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Following Prof. Park’s presentation on UN’s actions on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by peacekeepers, Dr. Burke spoke about African Union’s framework on sexual exploitation and abuse. She introduced her research, which faced difficulty to find information on AU’s policies on prevention and actions against SEA.


Session III was focused on prevention and actions related to sexual violence in conflict and in UN Peace Operations. Prof. Oh Joon of Kyoung Hee University discussed the role of conflict prevention, sharing his experience as Ambassador engaging at the UN Security Council. Dr. Roisin Burke explained the current framework and shortcomings related to prevention and prosecution of sexual crimes committed by UN military contingents. My presentation provided recommendations on how to better prevent further SEA by UN personnel, based on her five-year research on how to improve criminal accountability of UN police personnel. Her specific recommendations were around five areas: getting the right people on the ground, ensuring that all information reaches an appropriate investigative body, law and internal policies, investigation, and ensuring prosecution. Throughout her detailed recommendations, she emphasized that transparency would be the key.


Session IV addressed means to enhance gender equity in peace and security. Lieutenant Colonel Nyamsuren Chultem of the Ministry of Defence, Mongolia, introduced her experience with UN missions. In her speech, she touched upon pre-deployment training, expectations, daily tasks in the mission, benefit of having female officers and various mandates. Prof. Choi Yunmi of Sookmyoung Women’s University analyzed how gender equity has been incorporated in peace and security agenda in South Korea. She cautioned that securing a number of women involvement in peace and security does not necessarily contribute to women’s perspective being incorporated in the agenda.


Session V was on Japan and Korea’s national plans of action (NAPs) related to Security Council resolution 1325. Ms. Hisako Motoyama of Civil Society Working Group for Japan and Ms. Lee Hyun Sook, Women’s Forum for Peace and Diplomacy, South Korea, explained the process of formulating respective NAPs and their status of implementation. It was found that, although Japan and South Korea had different models of engagement with the civil society in the process, their outcomes had similarities. While some civil society recommendations were heard by the two governments, a significant part was lost.


Session VI, on civil society organizations engagement on women, peace and security issues, had two speakers. Ms. Cho Young-sook of Korean Women’s Association United explained the roles the civil society can play. Dr. Kim Jeoung Soo, Director of Korean Women’s Institute for Peace Studies, introduced active women’s participation and their unique roles in peace dialogue between two Koreas.


A large portion of the conference is scheduled to be published in the due course.

ACUNS Newsletter holds my report on ACUNS Tokyo Liaison Office’s meeting on revitalizing the UN

ACUNS’ newest Newsletter has my report on its Tokyo Liaison Office’s meeting on revitalizing the UN system, back in June 2017.

We had Mr. Takasu, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Human Security to deliver keynote speech, and had two rounds of discussion on the UN peace and security system and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Presentation on police forces comprising the UN Police

I presented yesterday at the University of Tokyo’s research conference, organized by the Area Studies Department. My presentation focused on police forces that comprise the UN Police, and the vast variety of their characters, cultures, performance, skills and expectations. Interesting questions were raised with regard to how militarized police forces are dealt with in the UN.

Area Studies seminar

UNPOL’s individual criminal accountability presentation at the Plenary,ACUNS Annual Meeting

Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) has annual meetings, and that is the biggest gathering of practitioners and academics researching on the UN system. I had a pleasure of presenting at the Plenary this April.

This year’s meeting was in Seoul, Korea.

The program is here.

In its Plenary III, entitled ‘Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Humanitarian Crises’, I presented the findings of my research into individual criminal accountability of UN police personnel. The essense is that challenges that the UN encounters in holding individual UN police officers who commit serious crimes in UN Peace Operations reflect the UN’s fundamental problems. It is not the lack of jurisdiction nor the issue of immunity, as are often claimed by States, that are preventing criminal prosecution of individuals who commit serious crimes.

ACUNS Seoul presentation

Summary Record of Japan-Africa cooperation consultation meeting uploaded

It has been some time.

I will try catching up with uploading articles from these several months.

My summary record of the consultation meeting, organized by the Global Peacebuilding Association fo Japan (GPAJ), for which I am the Secretary-General, and the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) Tokyo Liaison Office, for which I am Deputy Representative, has been uploaded on the respective websites. The theme was on the cooperation between Japan and Africa on peacekeeping, and we had the Deputy Director of Cairo Center for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA), Mr. Elatawy, to make the opening speech.

Below are the links to the web articles:

My presentation: the Role of the UN Police in Protection of Civilians [Global Peacebuilding Association, 25 March 2017]

I made a presentaiton on the role of the UN police in protecting civilians at the Global Peacebuilding Association’s seminar on 25 March 2017. The following is the summary of my presentation. I did not expect to have so many enthusiastic questions. Great to see that there is a keen interest in the UN police in the Japanese academics and practitioners – very rarely studied area.


The Role of United Nations Police in Protection of Civilians

25 March 2017

Ai Kihara-Hunt


Having initiated as the United Nation (UN)’s response to mass civilian killings, the concept of protection of civilians (POC) has become the center of what UNPeace Operations delivers. It is the raison d’être for a few recent missions. Prof. Kihara-Hunt explored the role of the UN police in POC and argued that their central role should be supported institutionally and operationally.


The presentation was in three parts: 1) the birth and development of POC, 2) the development of the role of the UN police, and 3) challenges and suggestions for better delivery of POC.


  1. The POC concept was born as the UN’s response to mass killings of civilians. The key is, and remains to be, protecting civilians ‘under imminent threat of physical violence’. The content has become more specific. Some recent mandates identify specific groups for protection. Earlier mandates included POC as a part, and some more recent ones have POC as their objectives. POC has shifted from an authority to use force to the duty to protect at two levels: at the level of peacekeepers and that of the mission. The UN considers its POC mandates in three tiers and four phases, taking a holistic approach with its focus on the community in the host State.
  2. UN police is the fastest growing component of UN Peace Operations. Having started in the 1960s as a 30-member team under the military command, it has grown in number to around 13,000 and has been long recognized as an independent existence. Its functions have shifted from monitoring to capacity building and institution building. They are required to deliver more and more complex tasks. There are two types of UN police: Individual Police Officers (IPOs, including Specialized Police Teams – SPTs), who are seconded by contributing countries and deployed individually; and Formed Police Units (FPUs), who are seconded as units of 120-140 police officers. FPUs are deployed for specific tasks, operating in high-risk environments and/or requiring coherent response. Currently about 70 percent of UN police are FPUs. UN police have gained importance in UN Peace Operations, to the extent that they not only deliver core functions, but also the effective delivery of their functions is linked to the missions’ exit strategies. UN police’ strength, in particular that of IPOs, is their interaction with the communities that they serve for, and information that are based on that posture. Despite this, UN police are yet to be fully integrated into the UN’s planning, strategies, operations and analysis, and struggle to deliver their functions efficiently. They suffer from insufficient and inadequate supply of human and other resources. UN Police are currently under reform. An external review suggested that their functions be considered in two different types: protection and development and that appropriate human resource be provided for those functions.
  3. POC is a mandate that contains the biggest gap between what is expected and what is delivered, according to the High Panel on UN Peace Operations. In particular, the role of the UN police is most unclear according to a study by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The community-centered approach of the POC matches the strength of the UN police. It is suggested that the UN police play the central role in the delivery of the POC. For that, it is essential that the structure of command be clarified, POC operations to be civilian-led in principle, and the UN police to be fully involved POC planning, strategies, analysis and evaluation.


Also see: