FINCENT kouluttaa YK:n sotilastarkkailijoita
YK:n sotilasasiantuntijakurssi (The United Nations Military Experts on Mission Course, UNMEM) alkoi FINCENTillä 17. elokuuta. Kurssin tarkoitus on kouluttaa sotilastarkkailijoita YK:n rauhanturvaoperaatioihin.
First course week about basic facts and skills
During the first week, the students have learned basic facts about the United Nations and its peacekeeping. They have attended lectures on subjects such as human security, human rights, child protection and the protection of civilians. The students have learned basic skills required by military observers like cross-country driving, map reading, GPS use, patrolling and report writing. Gathering information and reporting it back to Headquarters is one of the important tasks in the observer’s daily life. Mediation and negotiation skills are also learned during the first week. Mine and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) awareness and safety, as well as first aid skills, are part of the training. All the skills learned during the first week will be tested when the students start the on-the-job training part of the course next week.
"This is a relatively small course compared to previous years, but the atmosphere is again very good. The students are very active and eager to learn," says chief instructor, LTC Rolf Kullberg (on the left in the first picture). "As the training groups are smaller, we can offer more individual training," he continues.
One of the course’s international students is Colonel Ingrid Cap from Austria. She arrived in Finland two weeks before the course to be in quarantine-like conditions. Cap has been deployed in five different peacekeeping operations in the last 14 years. Her next deployment will be to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) this autumn.
"I’m very happy to be able to join the UNMEM course here in Finland. It’s essential to complete this training before I can be deployed as an UN observer. The course has been very good so far, and I’ve learned a great deal," Cap says (standing on the left in the second picture).
The peacekeeping world seems very small: on this UNMEM course, Cap has met three Finnish peacekeepers who were in the same operation with her in 2007 in Bosnia. She finds Finnish military officers very professional and open minded, observing that they bring sauna everywhere with them – even to places like Mali.
In normal conditions, FINCENT conducts an UNMEM course two or three times a year and a total of some 20 different courses a year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most courses have had to be cancelled or postponed. This UNMEM course is the first course conducted in Santahamina since March. The course has been organised in accordance with the restrictions laid down by the Finnish Defence Forces. In all our activities, the safety and wellbeing of our course participants and staff is our priority.
The UNMEM Course Director, Major Juha Viljanen, says that the course has been conducted as planned, and in general everything is going well – despite some limitations.
"It’s important that the students have the opportunity to participate in the course, because they will be deployed to the mission in the near future. The UN requires them to participate in the UNMEM course before the mission. A knowledge and understanding of the complex peacekeeping environment is crucial for individuals," Viljanen remarks (standing on the right in the first picture).