congogirl (congogirl) wrote,

Female peacekeepers reach Liberia

The first all-female unit of United Nations peacekeepers has arrived in Liberia's capital, Monrovia.

The group of more than 100 police women from India will stay in Liberia for six months, helping to train the local police force.

They will also carry out security duties in forthcoming local elections.

The UN currently has 15,000 peacekeepers deployed in Liberia, which is struggling to recover after a 14-year civil war.

The unit is made up volunteers drawn from across India and are experienced in battling insurgencies in Kashmir and the north-east.

UN police advisor Mark Kroeker, who has served with the Los Angeles Police Department for more than 30 years, says the presence of women in UN missions enhances their access to vulnerable populations.

"It also sends a message to the post-conflict societies where we work that women officers can have any position and play any role in a police organisation," he said.

[Source: BBC]

I think this is a very interesting idea.  I don't completely understand why the unit itself has to be all women - why can't it be a coed unit?  But as the article mentions, it is a good move for promoting the role of women in police organizations.

As well, women may be more easily able to reach vulnerable populations, i.e. other women, who unfortunately in many cases may have been abused by previous UN contingencies (DR Congo, Cambodia, Haiti, Sudan to name a few missions in which this has happened).  I cannot imagine that female peacekeepers would be able to take advantage of vulnerable populations, especially in refugee camp circumstances, the way that reports have indicated some other deployments have.

What do you think?
Tags: africa, human rights, liberia, news, un

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