UN Volunteers and their role in peacekeeping
The International Day of Peace, celebrated on 21 September, has a special significance in 2008. It marks both the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 60th anniversary of UN peacekeeping, which is why this year's Peace Day is themed 'Human Rights and Peacekeeping'.
Though it is the 'Blue Helmets' that are the face of United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), behind the scenes are thousands of civilian staff supporting them. They are an integral and essential component of the complex tasks of rebuilding and reconstruction after conflict.
Read on below to discover the variety of roles UN Volunteers play in supporting human rights and peacekeeping missions worldwide.
Volunteerism and its role in peace and development
Bonn, Germany: There is a general acceptance that there can be no lasting peace without development, as the UN General Assembly declared in 2004. Thus the International Day of Peace on 21 September is a chance to contemplate this year's theme, 'Peacekeeping and Human Rights', and the role that development and volunteerism play in both. ReadProviding protection: Human Rights Officers
UNV volunteer Human Rights Officers and Advisors work across the UN's peacekeeping missions, helping to restore mutual respect among populations traumatized by war. ReadThe support network: IT assistants
Of all the UNV volunteers working within UN peacekeeping missions, the Information Technology (IT) people are possibly the least celebrated. But without them, mission support might break down entirely. ReadEyes and ears: Civil and Political Affairs Officers
UNV volunteer Political and Civil Affairs Officers are an interface between the UN peacekeeping missions to which they are assigned, and the country at large. The reports they produce help the local government and UN mission understand potential causes of violence. ReadRestoring the rule of law: Judicial Systems Monitors
Justice is a keystone in building sustainable peace and democracy. UNV volunteer Judicial Systems Monitors bring wide-ranging expertise and a hands-on attitude to countries where the rule of law must be restored: only then can peace and human rights be fully secured. ReadDesert storemen: Supply chain assistants
An army marches on its stomach, goes the saying, and an efficient supply chain is the backbone of any UN peacekeeping mission. Behind the scenes, UNV volunteers are making sure that the right people get the right equipment and everything is accounted for. ReadA refreshing challenge: Water and Sanitation Engineers
Without clean water, no UN peacekeeping mission would last longer than a few days. Since post-conflict countries often have disrupted and dysfunctional water supplies and limited stocks for peacekeepers, the contributions of UNV volunteer Water and Sanitation Engineers are vital. ReadA healthy contribution: Medical staff
Highly-qualified and experienced UNV volunteers make up significant proportions of the medical personnel attached to UN peacekeeping missions, helping keep staff fit and healthy and offering their skills to the populace too. From doctors and nurses to pharmacists, radiographers and staff counsellors, these UNV volunteers perform every medical role imaginable. ReadVolunteerism for women's rights advocated at major gathering
Paris, France: A UNV volunteer has addressed delegates at a major international conference on how volunteerism has put gender issues into Kosovo's wider security debate. Read
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