Crossfire In Buenos Aires!
01 March 1999
BONN: Fourth UNV regional security workshop held in Argentina
UNV is increasingly requested to provide volunteers in programmes such as complex emergencies, humanitarian relief, democratisation and electoral process, and human rights. Often these by definition entail some degree of personal risk. So it is important to raise the security awareness of the UNVs involved, more particularly since they frequently serve at the "front line" of such operations.
Thus it was that the fourth and final of a series of regional security enhancement workshops was conducted in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 7 to 11 December last. This one, for the Caribbean & Latin American region, was again held in collaboration with the UN Security Coordinator's Office (UNSECOORD) and with the sponsorship of the Government of Japan; Argentina's White Helmets Commission were co-hosts. The workshop aimed at increasing the awareness of security- related field procedures for UNVs, and providing UNV Programme Managers/Officers with the resources, both technical and financial, to conduct similar training activities in their respective duty stations for a much larger number of UNVs. It brought together UNV colleagues from ten countries in the region, plus programme and resource staff from UNSECOORD, the White Helmets Commission, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNDP and UNV.
The core security management modules were facilitated by UNSECOORD. Given the recent calamities in Latin America, participants also benefited from a session on Natural Disasters Prevention and Mitigation, facilitated by OCHA. But the highlight this time were "hands on" exercises on hostage incident management, mines and unexploded ordnance, first aid, medical evacuation and military/civilian liaison procedures. The "theory of survival" was well put to the test in real-life situations! This particular activity was put together by officers from the Argentine Joint UN Peace- Keeping Operations Training Centre (CAECOPAZ). Hats off to the "Blue Helmets" for this excellent simulation!
A message to all UNVs, serving and en-route: if you haven't already had it, this security training will be coming your way!