India votes for mental health resolution at UN
India on Wednesday voted in favour of a resolution on the mental health of UN peacekeepers.
Ruchira Kamboj, the Permanent Ambassador of India to the United Nations said, "As one of the largest troop-contributing countries over the years, India places the highest importance on the safety, security and well-being of UN peacekeepers. Mental health is an essential component of holistic health, as Mexico has pointed out, and we are cognizant of the difficult and demanding environments in which the UN peace operations personnel work. Therefore, medical care and well-being of UN personnel deserve the collective and close attention of all member states," she added.
On Wednesday, members of the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on mental health and psychosocial support for personnel of UN peace operations.
Mexico initiated the draft resolution on mental health and psychosocial support.
The draft resolution will be the first stand-alone Security Council resolution on mental health. The draft text is open for co-sponsorship by the wider UN membership.
Meanwhile, Kamboj raised the issue of data and study conducted in consultation with troop and police contributing countries and the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, or the C34.
"We would like to submit the following two issues for the Council's future deliberations. One any serious deliberation of the issue should be premised on the data and study conducted in consultation with the troop and police-contributing countries. It need not be based on the assumption that troop and police contributing countries are not giving due attention to the matter. Two, we believe that the right forum to deliberate the issue is the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations or the C34. The C34 consists of 157 Member States involved in peacekeeping missions and holds annual debates to arrive at policy recommendations," she said.
C 34 has been giving due consideration to the issue of mental health of UN personnel in peace operations. As a result, there has been consistent improvement in recent years in the operating environment, living conditions, casualty, evacuation and medical facilities, among others.
Moreover, the draft resolution recognises the need to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and psychosocial support for UN peace operations personnel.
It encourages troops and police contributing countries, member states and the UN Secretariat to provide such support to UN peace operations personnel before, during and after their deployment.
The draft also notes the work that is being conducted by the UN Secretariat to provide guidance on the provision of mental health and psychosocial support.
In this regard, it references the 2018 UN Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy, a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of UN personnel and improving organisational capacities to prevent and protect mental health, which applies to the entire UN system.
The draft text in blue also notes that the UN Secretariat--together with experts from member states, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and non-governmental organisations--are carrying out work on mental health for uniformed personnel. In this regard, the UN Secretariat is currently identifying best practices regarding mental health strategies and services in the military field to adapt them into an integrated UN approach to support uniformed personnel.
In initiating this draft Security Council resolution, Mexico sought to contribute to the discussions in this process.
Mexico circulated a first draft of the resolution on November 28 and then convened an informal expert-level meeting on December 6 to discuss the text.
The meeting featured briefings by representatives of the UN Secretariat and the WHO, who apparently provided data on mental health-related incidents of UN peace operations personnel in different phases of deployment. (ANI)