UN peacekeeping operations traditionally rely on military personnel. Over the last 25 years, police and civilian functions have exponentially grown as a response to new conflicts and emerging threats to peace around the world, but also in response to calls for a stronger “people focus” of peace operations. UN operations are now tasked with maintaining peace but also supporting institutions of governance, human rights monitoring, security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants and other critical areas in order to build a truly sustainable peace.
The impact of many SSR projects, which I had the opportunity to work on in Liberia, is very visible. One of the most special projects is one that supports the establishment of gender units in security sector institution.
Currently, there is a small percentage of women in security institutions; for example, in the Armed Forces of Liberia it is just 4%. We are in the process of developing outreach programmes in communities and radio aiming to encourage women to enrol at security institutions.
As a UN Volunteer Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), I am engaged in monitoring, investigating and reporting human rights violations and abuses, as well as building capacity of civil society partners and state authorities.
Aside from monitoring detention centres, prisons and police cells, I am engaged in the creation of local human rights networks, and I help them develop their capacity in monitoring and advocacy to build a society that respects human rights with dignity, mutual understanding and peaceful dialogue.
Monrovia, Liberia: As a UN Volunteer Medical Doctor with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), my work involves providing clinical healthcare to all UN national and international staff members, as well as to the UN peacekeeping uniformed personnel.
Monrovia, Liberia: Living through the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, I observed first-hand what was achieved by the global community. By complementing local efforts, it controlled and contained what could have otherwise become another viral infectious disease of global epidemic proportions. The key actions that contributed to the successful control of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa were essentially the prompt actions taken by the UN to marshal resources and other stakeholders to control the spread of the virus.
Monrovia, Liberia: The post war in Liberia, like any conflict of its kind in the world, left behind factors that fuel the sexual mode of transmission of diseases including HIV. In keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 1308 (2000), all peacekeepers are required to go through a mandatory awareness sensitation and prevention training on basic facts on HIV/AIDS, personal risk assessment and cultural risk factors to HIV/Sexual TI transmission in post war Liberia.
Monrovia, Liberia: Aktar Uddin, from Bangladesh, is a UNV Advocacy Officer with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Although the country’s civil war is over, Liberia has to deal with the after effects of war, which involve loss of infrastructure and access to electricity, water, basic facilities or health care. Aktar, along with 250 other UN Volunteers, is working to establish and sustain peace in Liberia. I asked Aktar a few questions regarding his views of the work he and other UN Volunteers are doing in Liberia.
Monrovia, Liberia: Joining the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as a UNV Judicial Systems Monitor in 2007 has allowed me to help further development not only for the people I serve in Lofa and Montserrado Counties, but also for myself.
I have monitored, advised and reported on judicial processes at the Magistrates’ Courts, Circuit Courts and Supreme Court in civil and criminal matters, sometimes in very remote areas of Liberia.