Folke Bernadotte Academy – Swedish agency for peace, security and development

Tomas Sevén

Patrol hub leader in Ukraine

Tomas Sevén is on secondment from the FBA to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. He is patrol hub leader at the Sievierodonetsk forward patrol base in the eastern part of the country.

The OSCE SMM was deployed in 2014 following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine’s government. The mission aims to contribute to reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security. The head office is in Kyiv but the OSCE SMM is deployed throughout Ukraine, and has a large presence through field offices in various locations, both in government-controlled areas and in areas not controlled by the government.

Tomas, how would you describe a regular day at work?

 – I manage 125 employees at my office. Most of them are international monitors from different OSCE participating states. They work in teams who patrol along the contact line where fighting is the most intense. Their task is to report on ceasefire violations and the humanitarian situation, and to facilitate dialogue. I gather the daily reports, which are sent by our monitoring team to the SMM head office in Kyiv. Sometimes I go on patrol as well, and I stay in close contact with patrol hub leaders in other OSCE SMM field offices. My office is in the government-controlled part of eastern Ukraine, and I am in touch daily with the SMM staff working in areas not controlled by the government.

How would you describe the situation?

– We monitor the compliance of the sides with the Minsk agreement and report any violation observed on a daily basis. We also observe heavy weapons in the security zone, where they should not be according to the Minsk agreement. The ongoing fighting also affects the civilian population living and working close to the contact line. Though we are not a humanitarian mission, our observations help to identify places where people are most in need, and to refer this information to the relevant organizations.

What challenges do you face in your role as patrol hub leader?

– It is a huge challenge not to expose my co-workers to security risks. The SMM philosophy is that our monitor’s security is our highest priority. I trust my staff, they are all incredibly qualified. When the OSCE mission in Ukraine was deployed there was a heated debate, but now the local population expresses gratitude to us for being here. I believe that presence of the OSCE SMM monitors reduces violence. We actually make a difference – that is a nice feeling to have!

Photo: Ivan Bandura, Evgeniy Maloletka

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Looking back at a year of election observation

Liberia, Kyrgyzstan and Honduras. Kenya, Kosovo and Nepal. Those are just a handful of the countries that have held elections during 2017, to which FBA has deployed election observers. “It has been an exciting year. And 2018 looks just as interesting, with forthcoming elections in Russia, Cambodia and Zimbabwe, only to name a few”, says Maja Tjernström who works with election observation at FBA.

2017-12-22 14:37

Read our publications

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Putting Civilians First: NGO Perceptions and Expectations of UN Peacekeeping

NGOs and UN peacekeeping operations increasingly operate in a shared domain. NGOs commonly rely – at least partly – on UN peacekeepers for access and security, but they also express concerns about this. Yet remarkably little is known about what are their main concerns and how widespread they are. Even more importantly, what can be done to address them? This FBA Brief, written by members of one of the FBA’s research working groups, examines the answers to those questions.

Han Dorussen, Marian de Vooght



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    Back ‘home’ in Kosovo and remembering old lessons

    The distinct smell of coal dust creeps into your nose as soon as you step off the plane in Pristina, a strange and familiar welcome back greeting for those of us intimate with this small corner of Europe. I felt it again in November 2017 when I came to Kosovo for a few days of visiting old friends and colleagues. For anyone with strong memories of living in a foreign country, you will remember the joys ... Read entire post »

    2017-12-13 11:21
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    Liberia after Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

    On November 8 2005, Liberians elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to be the first female president of an African country. She made history that day and she oversaw fourteen years of peace in a country that had experienced two decades of devastating armed conflict. In 2011, she was re-elected and won the Nobel Peace Prize. Her fame and legacy has brought widespread international attention onto Liberia.

    On October 10, 2017, Liberians will go to the polls for the ... Read entire post »

    2017-10-06 15:28
  • Posted by Maja Jakobsson

    Strengthening forces for peace through experience-sharing

    The security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated as of late, with the highest number of conflict-related civilian casualties in 2016 since 2009. The efforts for a formal and sustainable peace process are insufficient and face numerous obstacles. Violent battles between government and Taliban forces have resulted in new districts falling under Taliban power. Attacks by other groups, loyal to the Islamic State, are increasing in numbers.

    Despite this, there are still strong forces for peace in Afghanistan. ... Read entire post »

    2017-09-21 16:18

Eldridge Adolfo

Eldridge Adolfo is expert on South Sudan, Colombia, Sierra Leone and preventive diplomacy

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