3. Capacity-Building Workshop on Peacekeeping, Entebbe, Uganda (April 2015)

Capacity-Building Workshop on Peacekeeping for Military and Police from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda
27-29 April 2015

Introduction

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, held a three-day training workshop for military and police officers from Burundi, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), at Imperial Resort Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda, from 27 to 29 April 2015. The main objective of the training was to provide participants with a practical and theoretical grounding in peacekeeping and peace support skills and knowledge, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS prevention and care; conflict management; human rights; and gender. Twenty-five military and police officers (11 female and 14 male) were invited to explore, build, and reinforce their knowledge, skills, and competencies in these thematic areas. The workshop stressed the need to create links across these thematic areas in their mandates as peacekeepers and human rights protectors in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Workshop Objectives

The April 2015 Entebbe workshop had the following four key objectives:

  1. First, to provide military personnel across the region with knowledge in HIV/AIDS prevention approaches before their deployment to peacekeeping missions;
  2. Second, to enhance the awareness and practice of participants in peacekeeping principles in relation to their roles as human rights and peacebuilding actors during and after conflicts;
  3. Third, to promote gender-sensitive practices among military personnel, especially with regard to the relationship between HIV/AIDS and gender; and
  4. Fourth, to build and strengthen the knowledge and understanding of participants of the concepts of human rights and conflict management as components of peacekeeping and peace support operations.

Thematic Areas Covered During the Workshop

The following six thematic areas were covered during the training workshop:

1. Improving the Skills of Participants in Peacebuilding and Peacekeeping Operations
The training session introduced participants to the concepts and doctrines of integrated peace support operations, peacekeeping missions, and peacebuilding. The workshop highlighted the challenges and opportunities of peacekeeping in Africa, examining the lessons from regional peace support missions. The workshop further helped participants to understand the roles of the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) in rapid and preventive deployments, intervention, and peace support/stability operations and enforcement.

2. Providing Practical and Theoretical Grounding on HIV/AIDS and Security, and Prevention Approaches, to Participants
The training improved the awareness and practice of participants in relation to their roles as human rights and peacebuilding actors, with an emphasis on gender sensitivity. It highlighted the need to mainstream HIV/AIDS prevention and care programmes within the police and military structures. The training session focused mainly on basic facts about HIV/AIDS among militaries; HIV/AIDS in conflict and post-conflict situations; and the relationship between HIV/AIDS and peace and security. It also addressed the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS among militaries and the police, as well as the effects of HIV/AIDS on peacekeeping.

3. Enhancing Understanding of Concepts of Conflict and Peace and Conflict Management
The workshop provided conflict resolution and management skills to participants. The objective of this aspect of the training was to equip participants with skills enabling them to recognise and understand the underlying causes of the conflicts they are required to manage, since they interact with local communities on a daily basis. The training further enhanced understanding of conflict resolution strategies and processes.

4. Challenges and Opportunities Faced in Building Peaceful Communities
Given their roles both in their respective countries and during peacekeeping missions, security officers are constantly mandated with the task of managing conflicts. Managing conflict situations often entails addressing human rights abuses, establishing accountability, and providing remedies, including between parties in conflict. The ability to reconcile individuals in conflict is also an important skill required of these actors, particularly during transitional justice processes. Many human rights issues are viewed as contentious, and, as such, can easily give rise to further disputes in post-conflict contexts. In light of this, the workshop helped participants to understand and develop strategies for protecting human rights during and after conflict situations.

5. The Role of Militaries in Advancing Gender Equality in Peacebuilding Processes
Post-conflict reconstruction and transitional justice processes often provide unique opportunities to transform power relations across societal divisions constructed around class, ethnicity, and gender. The transformation of gender relations is often not seen as a peacebuilding priority, although it is key to sustainable peace. The role of security institutions such as police and militaries in advancing gender equality in conflict and post-conflict contexts was discussed and considered at the workshop, and opportunities for, and challenges to, enhancing women’s participation in peacekeeping initiatives were explored.

6. Linking Human Rights, Conflict Management, and Peacebuilding
The workshop explored the relationship between the promotion of human rights, conflict management practices, reconciliation, and peacebuilding processes in the region. The workshop emphasised the key roles that respect for human rights plays in conflict prevention; the need to develop non-violent approaches to the protection of human rights by using conflict management and reconciliatory skills and techniques; and the use of such approaches to prevent the occurrence of massive human rights abuses during violent conflicts.

Methodology

The training was conducted in English and French, using simultaneous interpretation services. An interactive and participatory approach was employed, using facilitator-led presentations, plenary and panel discussions, participant debriefing sessions, group discussions, and role plays, helping to foster a theoretical and practical understanding of the workshop’s thematic areas. The workshop also provided participants with training materials tailored to their specific needs.

 

Outcomes

Comments from the participants after the workshop indicated strengthened skills in, and increased knowledge of, peacekeeping and peace support operations. In addition to using the knowledge and skills gained in their work, participants indicated that they will share the knowledge gained with their colleagues and with different stakeholders related to their mandates.

  • Captain Evarlyne Asiimwe, HIV/AIDS Prevention Coordinator, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), noted: “The workshop provided knowledge and skills on pertinent issues in military operations, such as human rights, peacekeeping, HIV/AIDS, and gender. Thanks to CCR for such rich knowledge and [a] relevant workshop. I am committed to go out and train others, especially on HIV/AIDS.”
  •  Lieutenant-Colonel John Bosco Katongole, Principle Staff Officer of Logistics (PSO), Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, noted: “This was a good opportunity to meet with comrades from other countries. As an officer who has participated in peacekeeping missions, it is very relevant to train with people we are going to work with in the field. This enhances coherence and will foster collaboration between the officers before and during the peacekeeping missions.”
  • Lieutenant Jane Katusiime, Counsellor, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, noted that the information gained and workshop materials received are worth delivering to security forces, and that she will transfer her new knowledge on gender, HIV/AIDS, human rights, and conflict management to UPDF officers, particularly when conducting pre-mission and all ongoing training.
  • Beata Chelimo, Commissioner of Police, Head of Women Affairs, Uganda Police Force, noted that the workshop introduced her to new knowledge about the role of HIV/AIDS and gender in peacekeeping, and commented on the usefulness of the workshop materials and training manual provided to her. She further noted that “the workshop has motivated me to read more to acquire more knowledge mainly on conflict management and human rights. I will recommend to [my] director to put into account issues discussed in this workshop before deployment, specifically conflict management and HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness in peacekeeping operations”.
  • Colonel Bomwenda Mangoy Frederique, Armed Forces of the DRC, noted: “The usefulness of the workshop was in strengthening my confidence to resolve conflicts that might arise when concerned parties related to my work are trying to find amicable solutions that are satisfactory to both or all of them.”
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Innocent Horumpende, Burundi Ministry of National Defence and War Veterans, noted: “The workshop was of great importance to me in the sense that I have learnt indispensable ideas regarding carrying out peacekeeping missions.”
  • Florence Kirabira, Uganda Police Force, noted: “I will share the knowledge gained with my colleagues in the office in order to improve our work. I will also share with different stakeholders involved in Peacekeeping.”

Observations

Participants noted that female officers face challenges in some peacekeeping missions compared to male counterparts. An example from Somalia was given showing that the manner in which forces respond when called on does not favour women – women need special logistics.

There was also mention of discriminatory practices based on health status that deny deployment to peacekeeping missions. Before deployment, officers are tested for HIV/AIDS, and in some cases, some officers who test positive are declined permission to participate in a mission.

Participants noted that in some cases, some officers are sent to peacekeeping missions without pre-deployment training about HIV/AIDS and gender issues, and thus they must learn while on the mission, which sometimes hinders their effectiveness while deployed.

It was observed that training in themes such as conflict management and human rights is essential for officers prior to deployment on peacekeeping missions. Even where pre-deployment training does take place, it tends to focus more on military issues and less on civilian protection and management. Participants recommended that training related to civilian protection be rolled out to many officers.

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Participants from Burundi, the DRC, and Uganda who attended CCR’s capacity-building workshop on peacekeeping for military and police, at Imperial Resort Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda, from 27 to 29 April 2015

Workshop photo gallery

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