Over the past decades, the world has witnessed armed conflicts marked by systematic violence and mass atrocities against civilians. In recent years, hundreds of political conflicts around the globe have affected the lives of countless people. Millions of individuals have lost your lives, while tens of millions more have been displaced from your homes and forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries. In war-torn societies, civilians – and in particular women and children – have suffered from gross violations of human rights: mass-killings, detention, torture and rape, forcible resettlements and a range of political, psychological and economic techniques of intimidation have become part of deliberate conflict strategies and systematically applied as methods of warfare.
In the framework of the United Nations, notable efforts have been put in place to improve the effectiveness of protection of civilians. The notion of protection of civilians has been progressively incorporated in mandates of peace operations. The first mission provided with explicit protection language in the mandate – the UN Peacekeeping Operation in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) – was authorized in 1999 – inter alia – “to afford protection to civilians under imminent threat of physical violence”. By 2012, the majority of the nearly 100,000 uniformed UN peacekeepers deployed worldwide operate under such mandate.
The goal of the course on Protection of Civilians in Peace Operations is to advance a better understanding of the conceptual framework for the protection of civilians in peace operations.
At the end of the course you will be able to:
- Define protection of civilians in the context of UN peace operations;
- List the legal instruments that discipline the protection of civilians in UN peace operations;
- Describe UN institutional framework for protection of civilians in peace operations;
- Explain challenges related to planning and implementation of protection activities;
- List specific issues linked to prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence.
This self-paced course is composed of five modules:
- Module 1: Overview of the protection of civilians
- Module 2: International legal dimension of the protection of civilians
- Module 3: Protection of civilians in the context of UN peacekeeping operations
- Module 4: Ensuring the protection of civilians
- Module 5: Prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence
The average workload for this course excluding voluntary writing assignments is estimated at around 10 hours.
The course is a self-guided, self-paced, web-based course that is on-going and can be accessed at any time. The course has five modules. Multiple choice quizzes at the end of each topic serve a dual function of assessing and evaluating the students’ understanding and retention and provide a further didactic function by reviewing the content. The passing grade for each quiz is 60%. If you pass all five quizzes, you will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course.
Further, voluntary assignments enhance the learning through a practical and scenario-based approach. In this course, these take the form of writing assignments, which are self-graded. Thus, they do not contribute to the final grade.
In addition to the narratives which provide the content of the modules, you will find introductory videos for each topic. A discussion forum provides you with the opportunity to discuss any issues with fellow students.
The course is open to anyone interested in the protection of civilians in peace operations, including practitioners working in post-conflict contexts, field workers, and international volunteers. United Nations Volunteers, holding a valid contract, can benefit from a reimbursement from the UNV Programme. Students are entirely responsible for ensuring their eligibility and requesting their reimbursement directly with the UNV office.
UNITAR recommends the following as a minimum in hardware and software to take our e-Learning courses. Please consult your Network Administrator or Systems person to ensure that you have the following:
- Windows XP, 7 or superior;
- MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or superior;
- Intel Core 2 Duo – or AMD – 3 GHz processor;
- 3 GB of RAM (4 GB recommended);
- Hard drive: 160 GB minimum.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader;
- Adobe Flash Player.
- Google Chrome 30.0 or superior;
- Mozilla Firefox 25.0 or superior;
- Safari 7 or superior;
- Internet Explorer 8 or superior.
- Apple iOS in Apple iOS 7 or superior on iPad:
- Articulate Mobile Player;
- Moodle Mobile.
- Android OS in Android OS 4.1 or superior (optimized for tablets):
- Articulate Mobile Player;
- Moodle Mobile.