Annual UN Forum 2023 on ‘International Humanitarian Law & Peacekeeping’ in New Delhi

NEW DELHI, NOV 20 : United Service Institution of India (USI), the country’s oldest think-tank established in 1870 for research and debate on national security and military affairs, is organising its Annual UN Forum 2023 in New Delhi in November 21-22, 2023. The forum on ‘International Humanitarian Law and Peacekeeping’ is being organised in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Centre for UN Peacekeeping Operations.

With contemporary UN peacekeeping missions increasingly being deployed in volatile environments characterised by asymmetric warfare, ensuring adherence to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) principles has become critical. However, applying IHL norms presents challenges arising from the complexity of modern conflicts, actions by non-state actors and blurred lines between combatants and civilians in urban battlespaces.

Against this background, the forum aims to discuss the applicability and limitations of implementing IHL frameworks in UN peace operations through an interactive, multi-stakeholder approach. The sessions will enable a deeper examination of some of the contemporary issues like the protection of civilians, accountability for crimes against peacekeepers, the role of women in peacekeeping operations, and leveraging technology for more effective operations.

The forum will involve insightful perspectives presented by both academicians and practitioners who have first-hand experience of peacekeeping challenges. Keynote addresses will be delivered by senior officials from the Indian Armed Forces and the Ministry of External Affairs. The forum will be held over two days as under:

Session 1 will discuss application of IHL principles to peacekeeping given situations involving non-state actors and urban warfare.

Session 2 will analyse constraints to protection of civilian mandates and overcoming them by integrating IHL norms.

Session 3 will examine legal frameworks to ensure accountability when peacekeepers are targeted, and measures to enhance their protection.

Session 4 will focus on the importance of gender-inclusive peacekeeping and challenges for women peacekeepers.

Session 5 will discuss utilising technology for more effective peacekeeping through data analytics, AI and advanced surveillance.

The event will conclude with a plenary session aimed at consolidating takeaways for peacekeeping practitioners and providing recommendations to further informed discourse on IHL and its integration into UN peace operations. The dialogues during the forum can contribute to developing training modules and policy frameworks to make peacekeeping more effective while ensuring the rights and safety of peacekeepers and civilians.

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