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The Peace and Security Council (PSC/Council) of the African Union (AU), at its 813th meeting held on 29 November 2018, adopted the following decision on the Draft Policy on Conduct and Discipline for Peace Support Operations (PSOs) and the Draft Policy for Prevention and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse for PSOs:  

Council,

1.  Takes note of the presentation made by the Head of the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) within the AU Commission Peace and Security Department, Mr. Sivuyile Bam, on the Draft Policy on Conduct and Discipline for AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs) and the Draft Policy for Prevention and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse for AU PSOs;

2.  Recalls its previous decisions and pronouncements on the importance of compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and conduct and discipline standards in the conduct of PSOs, in particular Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM. (DCCLXXV)], adopted at its 775th meeting held on 22 May 2018; Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM. (DCLXXXIX)], adopted at its 689th meeting held on 30 May 2017, and Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM. (CCCXXVI)], adopted at its 326th meeting held on 22 June 2012;

3.  Also recalls the Declaration of the 11th Ordinary Meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security (STCDSS), which directed the Commission to transmit the two draft policies to AU Member States for their review and eventual submission to the AU PSC for its consideration and adoption;

4.  Commends the Commission for developing the two draft policies, which demonstrates AU’s commitment to continue enhancing its existing framework for compliance and accountability to International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Human Rights Law (IHRL), which will further enrich the AU PSOs doctrine;

5. Welcomes the AU-UN partnership and joint efforts in the finalisation of the two draft policies, taking into account the AU and the United Nations (UN) PSO experience and contexts, as well as the importance of ensuring common standards, processes and mechanisms that aim at guaranteeing compliance with the highest standards of conduct and discipline by AU PSOs personnel;

6. Decides to adopt the Policy on Conduct and Discipline for PSOs and the Policy for Prevention and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse for PSOs.  As stipulated in their respective final provisions (16 – 2 and 12- 2 respectively ), Council underlines these policies are subject to amendment and review, as necessary ;

7.  Requests the AU Commission, working in consultation with the Member States and the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs), and as a matter of priority, to continue enhancing the measures and mechanisms required to ensure full adherence to these policies and other elements of the Compliance Framework. In this context, Council also requests the Commission to regularly report on the status of implementation of the AU Human Rights Compliance Framework;

8.  Requests the Chairperson of the Commission to transmit this Communiqué and the two policies to the African Members of the UN Security Council (A3), as well as to the UN Secretary-General for circulation to the members of the Security Council as working documents, as appropriate;

9. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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