Major General Aphaxard Kiugu Commandant Kenya Military Academy(KMA), on behalf of the CDF earlier today presided over the Protection of Civilians Workshop which was held at the Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS) in Embakasi, Nairobi County. Themed ‘Protection of Civilians in the Context of Peace Operations: Operational realities and challenges’, the Nairobi dialogue surveyed developments in the implementation of protection of Civilians(POC) mandates over the last twenty-five years, highlighting innovations, good practices and lessons learned from UN peacekeeping. Further, it set the stage for several sessions which included evaluating emerging threats to civilians, exploring how peace operations have supported the development of national and local capacities to protect civilians, diverse challenges peace operations face in protecting civilians across their lifecycle and examining approaches to protection of civilians in contexts that differ to UN peacekeeping.

This year marked 25 years since UN security Council adopted the first thematic resolution on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and authorization of the deployment of the first UN peacekeeping mission with an explicit protection of civilians mandate.

In his speech, Maj Gen Kiugu stated that this dialogue comes at a time when the aspect of the Protection of Civilians in peacekeeping missions is faced with various challenges, hence the need for a comprehensive assessment of the existing frameworks. This he says is to provoke a sincere discourse with the intent to inform decision-making in our future to deployment which is vested with the responsibility to protect civilians, should be structured with certainly the involvement of the military, police and civilian components throughout life of missions.

“Over the years, significant strides have been made but challenges still exist and this dialogue today shows the importance of this agenda and the need for effort from various stakeholders and experts to interrogate how POC mandates have been interpreted and implemented to effect positive changes. As armed conflicts become more protracted, complex and urbanized, the risks to civilians have increased. These risks are a source of major concern that need urgent attention.” he said.

Director of the International Peace Support Training Centre(IPSTC), Brigadier General Joyce Sitienei stated that this dialogue aims at enhancing the Protection of Civilians in Conflict zones. She further stated that it’s therefore of great significance to IPSTC as a training institution as the Protection of Civilians is the top priority of all mission mandates.

In attendance was the Commandant of HPSS, John Rongoei, Senior Fellow and Director, Protecting Civilians and Human Security Program, Stimson Center, Lisa Sharland, Researcher, UN program, Center for Civilians in Conflict(CIVIC), Abigail Balde, Coordination Officer, Protection of Civilians, UN Dept of Peace Operations, Lorena Escobal, Senior Advisor, Protection of Civilians, MONUSCO, Teohna Williams, Chief of the Military Operations Center, Minusca(Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) and Coordinator, Human Rights, Compliance and Accountability Project, African Union Commission, Adebayo Kareem.

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