Strengthening the protection impact of Human Rights Field Presences - Concept paper for the OHCHR Annual Meeting of Filed Presences

Mahony, L. and Nash, R.
Date published
08 Feb 2010
Research, reports and studies
Development & humanitarian aid, Protection, human rights & security

This paper and the associated workshop at February 2010 meeting of heads of human rights field presences represent the initial stage of a project through which Fieldview Solutions aims to assist OHCHR in assessing the most efficient ways to grow and the best ways to develop and share high- quality protection strategies on the ground. As an initial step in a longer project, no conclusions here are final, but rather we hope to begin a dialogue on a range of related issues.
Clearly the UN human rights field presence has been expanding, and the increased protective impact made possible by such expansion is now a fairly “mainstream” idea. Nevertheless, the implementation gap remains huge. Political and institutional obstacles remain, and there is still a long way to go in the necessary expansion.
We suggest here that the protection impact of a field presence is only partial and incremental, but it is nonetheless real and well documented. Human rights field operations need to explicitly “own” this concept of protection, and constantly seek better strategies to achieve it. OHCHR needs ongoing mechanisms for dissemination and creative development will ensure that future HROs, field managers and Geneva-based staff coming into the system will start out with a clear vision of how field presences implement protection.