In the past few decades, civilians have increasingly become the victims of armed conflict. In response, the Security Council has mandated a number of Peacekeeping operations with the Protection of Civilians (POC) from physical violence. In this regard the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Field Support (DFS) have devoted significant attention to improving the performance in this area. As a result, training on POC has become of crucial importance in enhancing peacekeepers’ capacity to implement their mandates.

Realizing the importance, Centre for International Peace and Stability (CIPS)/ UN Peacekeeping Training Department (PKT) planned and conducted Protection of Civilians Course Serial 1 from 19 Dec to 29 Dec 2016. This course was attended by Twenty Eight participants which included Nine from Pakistan Armed Forces, Ten foreign student and Nine civilians. Foreign participants were from Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Hungry. For the first time, civilian scholar/ student undergoing studies in various universities of Pakistan on invitation also attended the course. Furthermore, Lt Col Adil Fichtali from United Nations Integrated Training Service (ITS) Department, New York also came as observer in order to certify that the course confirms to the relevant United Nations Pre-deployment Training Standards which is a pre-requisite for obtaining “United Nations Certificate of Training Recognition”.

The Course was run on various modules on different aspects of UN Peacekeeping Operations in the context of Protection of Civilians. The participants went through the learning process which included all the necessary UN modules including Core Pre deployment Training (CPTM)   and Specialized Military Training (STM). These included Protection of Civilian Module, Child Protection Module, Human Rights Perspective and Conflict Related Sexual Violence. Besides Peacekeeping Training Department faculty, the lectures/ inter Group activity was delivered/generated by multidimensional  experts and guest speakers which included members from UN Agencies, Senior Armed Forces Officers, UN Mission Experts, Officers from Military Operations Directorate, GHQ and few others. An extensive two day situation based scenario oriented “CARANA Exercise” was also conducted which gave lot of situational experience to the participants.

Foreign students were administratively looked after well. They were taken around to Islamabad/ Rawalpindi as well as to Murree, a nearby hill resort for shopping, sightseeing and excursion.

The course ended with a formal closing ceremony which was attended by reps of UN Organizations, many Defence Attaches, members from Academia and others. Additional Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Tasnim Aslam was the Chief Guest who awarded the certificates to the successful participants.