INTERNATIONAL/LIBERIA: 'UN Peacekeeping Missions Should Have More Women'

Saturday, May 28, 2011
Zee News
Western Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

The UN peacekeeping missions should have more women to increase trust with the local populace, said Poonam Gupta, head of the Indian women's police unit in Liberia.

"Women by nature are non-threatening which gives an advantage," Commander Gupta said, speaking from Liberia, on the occasion of the International Day for Peacekeepers being marked on Saturday.

"People trust women more, they are more compassionate, and sexual exploitation and abuse are completely off the table when the peacekeeper is a woman," she said.

The Indian police officers, stationed in Liberia since 2007, were the first all female police unit in UN peacekeeping missions. Since then, other countries have started sending women to peacekeeping missions.

Noting that an estimated 10 per cent of police officers in UN missions are women, Atul Khare, a senior UN peacekeeping official, said, "Not enough".

Com Gupta is heading the fifth contingent of the Indian female police unit, which has garnered much praise including from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.