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New UN official underscores importance of human rights in policing

New UN official underscores importance of human rights in policing

Human rights values must be paramount to all aspects of United Nations policing in peace operations worldwide, the first-ever UN Deputy Police Adviser said today.

Ann-Marie Orler, who has two decades of police experience, told the UN News Centre in an interview that “all the policing we try to deliver to other countries must be based on human rights values.”

Individual officers should consider themselves to work for a police service, as opposed to a police force, she said.

The Deputy Police Adviser, who began her position last week, has previously served as the Secretary General of Amnesty International in her native Sweden, where she also was the Police Commissioner in the town of Västmanland.

Although this is her first position with the UN, Ms. Orler has international experience, having served as the Programme Manager for Police and Human Rights with the Council of Europe, where she took part in fact-finding missions and trained police officers in Turkey and Balkan nations, among others.

After getting settled into her new position, she hopes to examine the working methods of UN Police (UNPOL) to determine how they can be made more efficient in the face of challenges, including recruiting for large peacekeeping mission such as the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (known as UNAMID).

At present, there are over 11,000 UNPOL from 90 nations serving in peacekeeping missions worldwide. This number is set to jump to 17,000 due to new UN missions in Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).

Ms. Orler, who will be based at UN Headquarters in New York, pointed to the particular challenge of recruiting female police officers.

In a bid to boost their recruitment, she said that she will examine the underlying causes of why there are relatively few women in UNPOL, and then determine “what we can do as an organization to make it more attractive and more possible for women to join.”