While people around the world are currently experiencing the serious consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the milestones we are now celebrating were born of optimism and the commitment to work together to rise to common challenges. The pandemic presents a major challenge, but also an opportunity to rebuild stronger and better. Addressing global crises is the raison d’être of the United Nations and this is the time to renew our commitment to strengthen cooperation and support across borders and communities and to reinforce, not retreat from, multilateralism.
Comprising officers from more than 90 Member States, the United Nations Police are the epitome of multilateralism in action. The year 1960 saw the first deployment of civilian police personnel to a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation as part of the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC), complementing the force’s presence with distinct policing skills and expertise. As part of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the United Nations Police remain among the most visible representatives of the Organization in many of our host settings, where they have continued to evolve in response to changing needs. The United Nations Police have prioritized the participation of women officers at all levels, and we are proud of the progress that we have made on diversity and representation.
A measure of success for United Nations peacekeeping is a timely exit, where host States are able to undertake primary security responsibilities, protect populations and enhance people’s trust and confidence in State institutions. The United Nations Police have supported effective transitions in places such as Timor-Leste, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti and, at present, Darfur.
The assistance provided to national police and other law enforcement services and host communities to deal with COVID-19 has highlighted the essence of United Nations policing, which, at its core, is to protect and to serve in accordance with international human rights law. I commend the United Nations Police for continuing to carry out their mandated tasks while providing critical and often life-saving support to host-state authorities and local populations, despite the additional challenges of the pandemic.
From Action for Peacekeeping to the Sustainable Development Goals, from peacekeeping to preventing conflict and sustaining peace, the United Nations Police are a vital tool and key enabler for realizing the peace and security, development and humanitarian objectives of the entire Organization. I congratulate the United Nations Police on 60 years of significant contributions, service and sacrifice in the pursuit of peace for all.