[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has launched a new global effort to recruit more women police into peacekeeping operations.
The recruitment push comes at a time when the Organization is 4,000 short of the number of UN Police officers needed to fulfil the mandates of its ever-expanding peacekeeping missions across the world.
The Organization is seeking to have Member States increase the representation of female police officers serving in UN peacekeeping missions from its current eight percent to 20 percent by 2014.
At the same time, national training programmes to support women to join national police services will be encouraged.
“We need more female police as soon as we can get them,” stated Andrew Hughes, the UN Police Adviser, on the occasion of the launch of the Secretary-General’s report on Resolution 1820 (Women, Peace and Security) (S/2009/362) and the Security Council open debate on 7 August.
He added, “There has been some progress – when I commenced in this role in 2007 - six percent of the 8,000 police deployed were women, but this progress is not enough, we must accelerate this upward trend.” Women serving in UN peace operations are represented at every level, and are deployed in whole units.
In Liberia for instance, there is an all-female Formed Police Unit. The UN said it is committed to increasing the number of women and will actively seek to recruit female police officers, particularly at a senior level, in order to address the gender disparity.
Currently, there are 11,000 UN police officers working in 17 peacekeeping missions around the world playing essential role, including training and coaching national police services in the aftermath of conflict situations. The Organization is mandated to have 15,000.
Power to Empower
Aside from the regular policing duties, women officers bring a much-needed, extra dimension to the vital role that UN police perform in creating trust and upholding law and order as they help civil society rebuild after conflict.
“When the shooting stops, law and order is what brings security back to civilians, and often the most traumatized in a post-conflict society are women and children, said Hughes. Adding, “Greater representation of women creates trust and boosts confidence for communities recovering from conflict, and helps the UN police to take into account all the needs of those societies.”
UN Deputy Police Adviser Ann-Marie Orler said frequently, women and children are more comfortable reporting their experiences to female officers, and the fact that a woman is the authority can be empowering to women and girls.
“By having more women officers deployed in peacekeeping missions, they inspire more women to join their local police services, and this in turn will in the future give contributing countries a larger base from which to recruit officers.”
The top ten contributors of police women, as of the end of July 2009, were Nigeria (167), India (128), South Africa (62), Ghana (47), Zambia (38), Cameroon (29), Nepal (28), Philippines (23), Canada (21) and Côte d’Ivoire (19).
These ten countries account for more than 60 per cent of the female police officers deployed today. Female UN police officers hold discussion in New York On Thursday, 6 August, senior female UN police officers gathered at Headquarters to share experiences in the field.
The currently and formerly deployed officers discussed best practices, lessons learned and challenges in investigating sexual and gender-based violence, for effective implementation of Security Council resolutions 1820 (S/RES/1820) and 1325 (S/RES/1325) in conflict and post-conflict zones.
The meeting oalso highlighted the importance of capacity-building opportunities for female police officers within peacekeeping operations and national police services.
The officers also covered the importance of promoting and upholding gender-sensitive policies, as well as how to encourage more female police officers to apply for international service jobs in peacekeeping operations. The half-day open roundtable was organized by the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC), in conjunction with the Permanent Mission of Canada and the DPKO.