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close this bookMeeting the Humanitarian Challenge - UNV's Work Between Conflict and Development (United Nations Volunteers, 44 p.)
close this folderUNV humanitarian action in the field: Effort and impact
View the documentThe link to development: UNDP's strategic role
View the documentSupporting field coordination of response to complex emergencies
View the documentIdentifying the neediest and their survival strategies
View the documentRe-focusing and fine-tuning relief efforts
View the documentDelivery of urgent relief supplies to emergency victims
View the documentShelter and services for refugees and displacees
View the documentRepatriation/return of refugees and displacees
View the documentMonitoring and promoting respect for human rights, and enabling protection
View the documentConfidence- and capacity-building at community level
View the documentPreventing conflict and mending bridges between communities
View the documentFocusing on the special needs of women and vulnerable groups
View the documentEducation as therapy and for employment
View the documentRestoring food self-sufficiency
View the documentRebuilding primary health care and preventing epidemics
View the documentDeveloping new opportunities for sustainable recovery

Monitoring and promoting respect for human rights, and enabling protection

UNV specialists sometimes live among communities at risk or in situations of rising tension. Serving as UNV Protection Officers with UNHCR, or as Human Rights Monitors, they both monitor human rights observance and report on factors of latent strife or processes of alienation between groups.

A Dutch UNV Specialist in the Yemen has just completed an assignment as a UNHCR Protection Officer assisting both Somali and Ethiopian refugees who are resident in the El-Koud Refugee camp in Abian, which hosts over 7,000 refugees. His primary responsibility was to disseminate information to refugees on legal aspects of the following matters: resettlement; emigration; UNHCR documents; legal assistance for those refugees who have had charges brought against them arising from fights between refugees themselves or refugees and others.

In addition to being involved in the preparation and implementation of repatriation programmes for the Ethiopian refugees, the UNV Specialist had a strong input to the development of the UNHCR Social Service programme which provides sports and cultural facilities for the disabled and for women. He was also instrumental in setting up (with the financial backing of the German DAFI fund), educational programmes for the refugees related to the UNHCR University programme.

Persistent constraints, restricted access and local hostility to UN personnel made it extremely difficult for Hiromasa Nakai (Japan) to operate effectively and deal with an overwhelming case-load of human rights abuses (ethnic cleansing) against minorities in the Banja Luka area of Bosnia. Nonetheless his work with UNHCR as a Social Services Officer served to reveal widespread abuses. UNV Protection Officer Benny Ben Otim from Uganda faced the same difficulties, yet managed to retrieve some families from imminent "ethnic cleansing" and arranged their rescue to safe havens.

Presently the UNV programme in Geneva is working closely with the UN Centre for Human Rights to assign further UNVs to work as Human Rights monitors in Kigali and along the border areas of neighbouring asylum countries. And another 72 Human Rights promoters are currently assigned to the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA).