SOUTH ASIA: India, Bangladesh Take Lead in Deploying UN Female Police Officers

Friday, June 11, 2010
Express India
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

United Nations India and Bangladesh have taken a lead in sending female police officers to serve in United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world as the world body aims to have 20 per cent women in its police force by 2040.
In 2007, India sent the first contingent of women officers to serve in Liberia and has since then rotated this team thrice.

On June 1, the government of Bangladesh deployed 260 police officers, many of them women, to serve in Haiti that suffered a devastating earthquake in January.

Currently out of the 13,680 UN police serving in 17 missions, just 8.5 per cent are women, according to the UN.

Bangladesh aims to recruit 10,000 more female police officers in the coming months and Liberia has also set the 20 per cent target for 2014.

"Recruitment, training, and guidance are reflected in my goal to increase the number of women in our police component and strengthen our response to sexual and gender based violence," UN Police Adviser Ann-Marie Orler told reporters.

"We hope that women will make up 20 per cent of the UN police by 2040," she added.

In recent years, India has been pushing the UN to intensify recruitment of women in all its peacekeeping missions.

"The effectiveness of the female Indian Formed Police Unit in Liberia provides testimony," Hardeep Singh Puri, India's envoy to the UN said at the UN review of peacekeeping operations in February.

Last year, the 125 Indian female peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) received UN peacekeeping medals for their contribution to peace and stability in Liberia.

During its 15-year-long civil war Liberian women have suffered from rampant rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Women peacekeepers have played a significant role in helping women who have suffered from sexual and gender-based violence since these victims cannot share their experiences with male peacekeepers.

"That all women police unit has helped motivate more Liberian women to become police officers and the mission has launched a joint UN-Liberian campaign against rape," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Security Council, last year.

The UN currently has the capacity of 17,407 police officers out of 13,680 are serving in Sudan, Timor Leste, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Haiti, Somalia, Guinea Bissau, Afghanistan, Burundi, Chad, and Cyprus.

"This is the highest number ever in the history of the organisation," said Orler.