QUNO Geneva understands peacebuilding as both the development of human and institutional capacity for resolving conflicts without violence, and the transformation of the conditions that generate destructive conflict. Therefore, in this latter sense, it must include work to prevent destructive conflict.
Recent Timeline Events
QUNO was pleased to deliver a statement at the resumed 43rd session of the Human Rights Council on 15 June in Geneva, as part of the Item 5 General Debate on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms. The statement, delivered by Programme Assistant for Peace and Disarmament, Cara Priestley, welcomed the rapporteurs’ report on the contribution of the Human Rights Council to the prevention of human rights violations, pursuant to Resolution 38/18.
QUNO highlighted some particularly positive elements of the report, such as the recommendations to imbue Special Procedures with a stronger prevention lens and for investigative bodies to include risk-factor analyses. In addition, it was highlighted that the report’s suggestions on achieving stronger collaboration between the Council and the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture, in particular the Peacebuilding Commission, are welcome steps. With human rights violations so often the root cause and consequence of destructive conflict, integrated working across all pillars of the UN system is crucial.
The full statement is available to read below, and can be viewed online here from 1:43:17 onwards (or from number 42 on the right hand side scroll bar).
The link to the rapporteurs' report can also be found below.
Related Areas of Work
Building on its long-term work on integrating human rights and sustaining peace, QUNO has been supporting work led by the three rapporteurs in charge of implementing resolution 38/18 on ‘the contribution of the Human Rights Council (HRC) to the prevention of human rights violations’. In particular, QUNO has focused on how the HRC can more effectively work with all UN pillars to prevent those violations which, if left unaddressed, could lead to violent conflict.
To this end, QUNO has highlighted positive ways forward, such as a broader inclusion of actors (such as peacebuilders) throughout HRC mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review, a better integration of mandate holders in the Peacebuilding Commission’s discussions, or the systematic involvement of Resident Coordinators - key actors in upholding the UN Charter on the ground - in Council discussions. These elements are echoed in the rapporteurs’ final report, which was presented at the 43rd Session of the HRC.
With the Call to Action for Human Rights by the Secretary General, who highlighted that “respect for human rights is an essential crisis prevention mechanism” and the Peacebuilding Architecture Review underway, 2020 provides a good opportunity to realise these changes.
We therefore urge the Council and Member States to take forward these recommendations, and encourage the President of the Human Rights Council to share this report officially with the Secretary General and relevant bodies, the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council, and the Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission, for their consideration.
To welcome the rapporteurs’ final report, QUNO had hoped to make an oral statement at the 43rd session of the HRC, which was unfortunately suspended due to COVID-19 measures in Switzerland. In light of this, the full version of QUNO’s statement is available to read below, as is the link to the rapporteurs' report.
(Photo: Yvette Stevens, presenting the report at HRC 43 - A/HRC/43/37)
Related Areas of Work
For Geneva Peace Week 2019, QUNO and Interpeace organised a self-reflective roundtable on Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace. The roundtable brought together peacebuilders to share their reflections on how to creatively traverse the disciplinary, policy and practice divides between the human rights and peacebuilding fields.
To the layperson, the link between human rights and peacebuilding may seem obvious. However, there has been a traditional schism between the two sectors, premised on an understanding that they are divided by different methods, priorities and operational approaches. In the spirit of bridging these silos, participants at the roundtable discussed issues such as the need to focus on economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights when intersecting with peacebuilding, the need for a broader approach to justice and human rights that transcends the narrow constraints of criminal justice, and the importance of listening to local lived experiences. Several participants commented that local actors often do not see the distinction between human rights and peacebuilding and have a naturally more integrated way of working.
The Peace Week roundtable on Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace saw a clear enthusiasm among the group for increased collaboration, and QUNO looks forward to continuing adding value to this space.
For more information, please read the concept note available below.