Protection of Civilians/UNEPS

GAPW works with diverse UN agencies and national and UN-based partners, including the Cameroon-based Martin Luther King Center, and the German-based Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, to help the international system create a seamless and effective response system to the threat of atrocity crimes. While the focus of the international efforts must be on early warning and prevention, GAPW also advocates for capacities - such as our own proposal for a UN Emergency Peace Service - that can provide effective, last-resort responses to the threat of genocide or other mass atrocities in those (hopefully rare) instances when diplomacy fails to resolve the violence.

Our specific priorities for this program include the following:

1. Ensure the full and fair implementation of the Responsibility to Protect norm, including assurances that the norm is not invoked carelessly and/or with insufficient attention to our core responsibility to prevent. We are committed with our partners to develop regionally-based forums for discussion about the norm which includes its potential for misuse and its broader implication for how the international community exercises its civilian protection responsibilities.

2. Promote more transparency for findings generated by the UN, by member states or by civil society groups that indicate a credible threat of mass atrocities in order to ensure that such findings can be made actionable at earlier stages, before full-scale violence flares up. Findings are of limited usefulness unless there is an attentive and robust infrastructure to turn information into preventative policy.

3. Develop and promote our proposal for a UN Emergency Peace Service, a standing, rapid-response, last-resort, service and gender integrated capacity that can work in complement with existing UN and regional operations and provide effective, rapid deployments to halt outbreaks of mass atrocity violence in their earliest stages. The movement to adopt UNEPS has more political than technical challenges, and we are committed to both UN-based and regional engagements to properly situate this capacity within the UN’s response infrastructure and build more trust for the capacity and the UN’s ability to use it wisely.

4. In large part through the Ira Wallach Fund for the Eradication of Genocide, help ensure more input from troop contributing countries and smaller (potential recipient) states regarding new proposals for peacekeeping capacities and policies. We are committed to doing more to ensure that countries most likely to be impacted by a new response capacity have a significant role to play in its development.

5. Work with civil society partners and diplomatic missions to promote more supplemental civilian capacity in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, civilian protection, the monitoring of gross violations of human rights, and other key functions. Highly trained ‘peace professionals’ can supplement and in some cases supplant more militarily-robust responses.

Acknowledgment for UNEPS

“This venture is of the greatest importance both to the UN as a responsible institution and to the millions as of yet unknown, innocent victims who might, in the future, be saved by this essential addition to the UN’s capacity to act on their behalf. There is one overwhelming argument for the United Nations Emergency Peace Service. It is desperately needed, and it is needed as soon as possible.”

- Sir Brian Urquhart, Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs

“Anyone concerned with preventing a future Rwanda or Darfur should read this book. This is a bold, politically realistic proposal for establishing a rapid deployment force-a United Nations Emergency Peace Service-to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity.”

- Juan Mendez, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide

“The UNEPS initiative directly responds to the widely recognized need to protect people caught in deadly conflicts. While serving as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, I pleaded on numerous occasions for the rapid deployment of specialized forces. Without such presence, military elements could not be separated in refugee camps; humanitarian corridors were seldom set up to allow the victims safe exits; and all too often, innocent civilians were left in the midst of fighting. Effective, trained and specialized standing forces would have been invaluable.”

- Sadako Ogata, Former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

“With regard to practical tools–if you like the “tool of response”…there are many ideas on the table. But I believe one idea on the table that should be pursued more seriously and discussed within the United Nations, maybe a mandate if need be, is an idea which is being proposed by a very serious group of scholars and organizations. They call this the UN Emergency Peace Service. We can discuss this more fully later; I think this is something that should be debated more seriously so that where there is an actual genocide going on, at an early stage there will be the tool for response which does not depend on individual Member States deciding to send their men and women into harm’s way or not to do so.”

- Olara Otunnu, former UN Special Representative to the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict

“We are the ones who understand well and support with convincing evidence and testimony why the world needs UNEPS–a United Nations Permanent and Rapid Response to deal with issues of peace and humanitarian relief.”

- Cissa wa Numbe, Secretary General, United Nations Association of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Draft Statute for the Formation and Operation of the UN Emergency Peace Service

UNEPS - To Prevent Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

Global Action to Prevent War, in collaboration with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the World Federalist Movement, published “A United Nations Emergency Peace Service”. This book includes the following: uneps-cover1

  • The detailed proposal for an Emergency Peace Service, including expert discussion and analysis on its various components
  • Preface by Sir Brian Urquhart, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs
  • Afterword by Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar, first force commander of the UN peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia
  • Comments on the initiative by representatives from South Africa, Brazil and the USA

Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement in Africa: The Potential Contribution of a UN Emergency Peace Service

By Annie Herro, of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney and Global Action’s Australian Coordinator; Wendy Lambourne; and David Penklis

“It’s Time to Give the UN Some Teeth”

By Annie Herro, of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney and Global Action’s Australian Coordinator.

2008 Irish Defense Review

A UN Emergency Peace Service: To Prevent Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity
By: Robert Johansen

A United Nations Emergency Peace Service: Proposal Update
By: Robert Zuber, Global Action’s Organizational Development Director

A UNEPS ‘White Paper’

A UN Emergency Peace Service: One Step Towards Effective Genocide Prevention

Hosted by the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping and Citizens for Global Solutions

Enhancing Capacity for Rapid and Effective Troop Deployment

By: Kavitha Suthanthiraraj, Global Action’s International Coordinator

UNEPS Rutgers Conference Report

“To Prevent Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity: Diverse Perspectives on a Standing, Rapid-Reaction UN Emergency Peace Service”

Sponsored by the Rutgers School of Law-Newark, Global Legal Studies Program, International Law Society and, Global Action to Prevent War

UNEPS Fact Sheet and Talking Points

Prepared by Citizens for Global Solutions, Jan. 2007.

Rapid Response Library

A database of articles and publications on a rapid reaction capacity.