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Human rights roles for peacekeepers

(From: Draft United Nations Multidimensional Peacekeeping Handbook)


UN Military Observers in a country hosting a peace operation numbered around 130. They had mine-resistant vehicles and several helicopters.
They went to every region of the country while the two human rights officers suffered severe restrictions on their ability to travel.
The Military Observers were supposed to report on human rights in their daily situation reports but usually noted “nothing to report”.
Yet when one human rights observer asked about schools in one area the Military Observer responded that the parents were very angry because the children were being forced to learn all their lessons in a language other than their national one.
This is a key human rights issue that the Military Observers, once they realized it was a human rights problem, did share with the human rights officer who immediately took steps to rectify the problem.
This also led to a decrease in tension in the area that had a direct impact on the security situation, illustrating the close link between human rights and public security.

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