A Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Centre for Peace and Security Studies, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria and Advisor United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Dr. Chris Kwaja has been elected the Chairperson – Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Mercenaries at the just concluded 37th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Mercenaries which held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. His election is for a non-renewable term of one year.
Kwaja also reflected on his appointment in a Facebook post:
“Reflections: As global attention continue to gain traction on the devastating impact of mercenaries and mercenary related activities across the world, Africa remain the worst hit. Need to explore areas of cooperation and strategic partnership between the United Nations Working Group on Mercenaries and the African Union becomes more and more important. Thanks to H.E Fatima Kyari Mohammed, the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations in New York, for the commitment towards such an institutional relationship. Our meeting also coincided with my election as the Chairperson – Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council’ Working Group on Mercenaries.”
As Chairperson Rapporteur, his key tasks include in the next one year include:
- Presenting an annual thematic report of the activities of the working group to the UN General Assembly.
- Presentation another annual thematic report to the UN Human Rights Council.
- Coordinating strategic bilateral and multilateral engagements and interfaces within the UN system, with member states of the UN, regional institutions such as the African Union, European Union among others.
- Coordinate regional and country level visits to specific states based on either requests by the region, states or proposals by the working working group to such regions or states.
It should be recalled that 2019 makes it 30 years since the mercenary convention of the UN was enacted. Africa was even the first continent to put up a policy on mercenaries in 1977, as the continent that is most hit by the activities of mercenaries.
For instance, there were attempts by mercenaries to change government in Equatorial Guinea thrice. As Chair of the United Nations security council in February 2019, Equatorial Guinea convened a high level policy dialogue on the issue as part of efforts towards mobilising global support against mercenary and mercenary related activities in Africa and the world in general.
Dr. Kwaja He is also a Visiting Research Fellow with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Abuja, Nigeria.
He holds a Doctorate Degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies. In 2008, He was an exchange fellow of Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, United States.
He is also a recipient of several research awards such as the CODESRIA Governance Institute on Private Military and Security Companies, 2009; United Nations Mandated University for Peace Doctoral Research Award, 2009; as well as the Peace Fellow Award of the West Africa Research Centre, 2010. He is an alumni of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland, 2010.
From June 2011 to May 2015, He served as Director General, Research and Planning, Governor’s Office, as well as Honourable Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftancy Affairs, Plateau State, Nigeria.
In June and July 2016, He was a fellow of the Brown University International Advanced Research Institute (BIARI), Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies (Humanitarian Response and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Increasing Effectiveness and Accountability in the Age of Complex Emergency), Providence, Rhode Island, United States, as well as the International Peace and Security Institute (IPSI) Peacebuilding Fellowship, Post-Conflict Transitions and international Justice, The Netherlands (Clingendael) Institute of International Affairs, The Hague, Netherlands, respectively.
In September 2016, He was appointed a Member of the United States Institute for Peace (USIP)- Senior Working Group (SWG) on the Drivers of Instability in Northern Nigeria, with specific reference to developing inclusive and sustainable strategies for addressing the drivers of instability in Northern Nigeria, 2016.
D Kwaja has over 50 scholarly publications to his credit in journals, books, monographs series, technical reports, policy and security briefs among others.
His research focuses on the politics of identity in Africa, the privatization of security, democratization, conflict and peace studies, as well as security sector reform in transition societies.