“Assistant Inspector of Police Annah Chota made a key contribution towards restoring trust of the public in the police and encouraging children, women and men in Abyei to become partners in preventing and detecting crime.”
Assistant Inspector of Police Annah Chota has received the International Female Police Peacekeeper Award for her service and achievements in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
The award was given at the International Women and Law Enforcement Conference in Cairns, Australia, on 18 September.
Ms. Chota is the first police officer from Zimbabwe to receive the award. It recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of female police officers serving the United Nations and has been bestowed annually since 2011.
As head of the Gender and Children Affairs Unit in the police component of UNISFA, Ms. Chota helped establish a women’s network in Abyei. Through training workshops and campaigns with local communities, Ms. Chota contributed to a shift in how communities deal with rape, domestic violence, child marriage and forced marriage, by recognising rape of a wife by a husband as an offence.
As a result, more women are reporting gender-based violence. In the absence of a police service in Abyei, community protection committees can now record and recognize sexual and gender-based crimes.
Upon receiving the award, Ms. Chota said that it underscores “the value of hard work, professionalism, teamwork and discipline, which every peacekeeper must exhibit”.
“Assistant Inspector of Police Annah Chota made a key contribution towards restoring trust of the public in the police and encouraging children, women and men in Abyei to become partners in preventing and detecting crime,” said United Nations Police Adviser Stefan Feller.
The United Nations aims to attract more police women to join the 1,098 female police officers from 69 countries, who are currently serving in UN Peacekeeping Missions. It is part of the United Nations Global Effort initiative, together with Member States, to reach 20 per cent women in the UN police by 2020. For UN delegation members, the conference was followed by a training workshop on how to strengthen the host state police capacity to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.
Zimbabwe provides 85 police officers to UN operations in Abyei, South Sudan (UNMISS), Sudan (UNAMID), and Guinea Bissau (UNIOGBIS), 31 per cent of whom are women.