[Dateline: New York | Author: DPKO]
Fourteen Police Commissioners and Senior Police Advisers, who are leading police components of the UN peacekeeping missions managed by DPKO gathered between 9 and 11 February 2009 at New York Headquarters for their regular annual conference. (Due to the developments in Darfur, the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) Police Commissioner did not attend the conference.) DPKO was able to speak briefly with some of them and will be publishing their stories in the coming weeks.
For this first story, DPKO sat down with Major General Gerardo Christian Chaumont, who is from Argentina. He is the Police Commissioner in the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and has been with the mission since 15 August 2008.
MINURCAT was established by Security Council resolution 1778 (and extended by resolutions 1834 and 1861) and as of 31 January 2009 comprises 236 policemen (of which 27 female), 46 military liaison officers supported by 75 international civilian personnel, 33 local civilian staff and 35 United Nations Volunteers. The Mission is headed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Victor Da Silva Angelo, of Portugal.
Before arriving in Chad General Chaumont was the chief of UN Police (UNPol) in the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) between 2006 and 2008 and in 2002 he was managing the police operations of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).
In his remarkable career, the Major General of the Gendarmerie of Argentina also served as a chief of the Police within the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Holder of the highest degree of the Military Academy in Paris (1989) and also of the diploma of the High Studies of the French Gendarmerie (1990), Major General Chaumont also served at different posts in the United States of America, in France and in Chile. He is a laureate of the Medal of the French Gendarmerie and was decorated three times by the United Nations.
The General comes fromArgentina, a country that has been taking part in numerous peacekeeping operations both in the military capacity as in Cyprus and Haiti, as well as in the police capacity as in Bosnia, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Policemen under his command come from 17 contributing countries and were selected on the basis of their professional expertise. Although they come from different cultures and had different education and training, they all "share common values and high professional standards. In that sense it is easy to manage them although sometimes very challenging," says General Chaumont.
MINURCAT UNPolsare deployed at the Mission Headquarters in N’Djamena and at the police stations in six main cities of the North-East of Chad: Abeche, Bahai, Farchana, Goz Beida, Guereda, and Iriba.
They are also present in the police outposts of 12 cities in the vicinity of refugee camps and places of displaced persons: Am Nabak, Bredjing, Djbal, Farchana, Gaga, Goz Amer, Iridima, Kounoungo, Mile, Our Cassoni, Touloum, and Trguine.
"According to the Missions mandate, the main task of the UNPol is the training of the officers of the Chadian Détachement Intégré de Sécurité (DIS) who will provide security at the locations in the North-East that I’ve already mentioned", said Mr. Chaumont, "and few days ago we finished with the training of the final group of DIS officers. In total, 850 of them were trained and majority of them has already been deployed to the field."
Throughout his activities in MINURCAT General Chaumont is striving to reassure the Chadian population in the refugee camps and displaced persons of the police presence and in a certain way to tell them that the UN Police understands the needs of this vulnerable population.
At the end of our short meeting he appealed to his staff to continue to dedicate themselves to their work and to fulfill their duties with the highest professional standards.