Awarded the CSDP medal

Awarded the CSDP medal

On March 1st, Cynthia Petrigh was awarded the Common Security and Defense Policy medal by head of the European Union training mission in Mali (EUTM) General Guibert, to congratulate her for the good work achieved in Mali.

 EUTM Mali-Medal_CSDP_s“On behalf of Catherine Ashton, I am awarding you this beautiful and well deserved medal”, said General Guibert. Cynthia is deployed in Mali on behalf of UK Stabilisation Unit since June 2013, to train the Malian armed forces in IHL and human rights as part of the EUTM mission. The mission counts 560 members from 23 European nations, including 190 trainers, all military apart from her.

A new publication on witness protection in international inquiry missions

A new publication on witness protection in international inquiry missions

Cynthia petrigh from Beyond (peace) has been involved in fact-finding and documenting human rights abuses, both at field level as well as research.

She has now published the results of a research conducted for the Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research programme of Harvard University.

This paper will contribute  to the work of the Harvard Group on monitoring, reporting and fact-finding missions and more generally, to the academic and practitioners’ debate on the responsibility to protect witnesses and victims.


Photo: the researcher documenting human rights abuses in the Kyrgyz Republic

The paper identifies two dilemmas. Firstly, while statements from witnesses and victims account for the predominant evidence when investigating human rights violations, the very fact that victims and witnesses decide to come forward and contribute to the establishment of the truth can put these individuals at risk.

A second dilemma emanates from the ad hoc nature of such missions, in contrast with the need to ensure protection on a long-term scale. In the often-volatile contexts in which MRF missions typically operate, security risks also arise for MRF staff members participating in on-the-ground operations.

The paper analyses how past MRF missions, whether commissioned by ad hoc bodies or by the UN, have grappled with these risks. The paper examines the sources of the obligations to protect witnesses, victims, and staff; the nature of the threats that could arise; the protective steps that have been taken; and the measures that could be taken by MRF professionals in the future.

As this paper demonstrates, often a divide exists between aspirational notions of best practice and the reality of what can be delivered, leaving MRF practitioners frequently uncertain about the lengths and limits of their protective responsibilities.

The paper can be downloaded from:

Our work in 2013

Our work in 2013

As I look back into 2013, I take pride in sharing an overview of our projects, our partnerships and our achievements.

In the first half of the year, we continued our engagement in Yemen through an advisory role for the National Dialogue, together with the Berghof Foundation (Germany) and the Political Development Forum (PDF, Yemen).

In the political landscape of the post-Arab spring, Yemen, although plagued by unresolved issues and a difficult economical and social situation, distinguishes itself by its efforts for a negotiated, locally rooted solution through dialogue with all the political and social components. Beyond (peace) brought its modest contribution to this unique process.

In June 2013, Beyond (peace) was contracted by UK government Stabilisation Unit (SU) under William Hague’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) to coordinate the humanitarian component of the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM). We designed and delivered tailor-made components for the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Human rights and prevention of sexual violence training for two Battalions of the Malian Armed Forces, in partnership with MINUSMA. A third Battalion will be arriving in January 2014 at the Koulikouro Training camp, where I am deployed since June for this important mission.


Altogether, the EUTM will have trained about half of the Malian forces by mid- March 2014. We have learnt the difference between a professional army and a group of bandits – Quote from trainees.

Throughout the year, we maintained our partnerships with our faithful friends. We delivered trainings for the ICRC, for the International Institute of Humanitarian law (IIHL, San remo) and for the Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP). We continued our work with the Harvard Group of Professionals on Monitoring, Fact-finding and Reporting. In our October meeting in Geneva, I presented one of the papers for a publication to come. More to follow in 2014!

We gained in visibility, through our website and our first brochure. In October 2013, Beyond (peace) was invited to the Annual Conference of the Swiss Department of Federal Affairs, Human Security Division, which I am proud to take as a sign of our recognition as an expert player, just one year after the creation of my company.

Although our professional activities took as elsewhere this past year, we did not forget our friends in Mindanao, struck by new, ugly attacks of violence and who remained committed on the path to peace.

As I look back at what we did in 2013, my gratitude goes to all the partners who have trusted us; to all the people we have worked with; and to all the friends supporting this initiative through their advice and their encouragements.

As I now look towards the future, it is full of promises and I welcome our friends and partners to stay engaged and continue our wonderful adventure towards building peace together.

I wish you a happy and successful new year.

Cynthia Petrigh

Training Bat Sigui at Koulikouro Training camp

The third Malian armed forces battalion has arrived at Koulikouro training camp in Mali.

Beyond (peace) trainer Cynthia Petrigh has started the lectures on International humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights.

The 700 trainees will spend 10 weeks in the training session.