Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 September 2019

UAE female peacekeepers commended by UN

Only four per cent of deployed peacekeepers are women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the UN under-secretary-general, meets cadets undergoing military and peacekeeping training at the Khawla bint Al Azwar Military Academy in Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy: UN Women UAE.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the UN under-secretary-general, meets cadets undergoing military and peacekeeping training at the Khawla bint Al Azwar Military Academy in Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy: UN Women UAE.

The first cohort of female peacekeepers trained in Abu Dhabi have been commended for their work by the United Nations.

The cohort of 134 female cadets from seven Arab countries completed three months of basic military training and two weeks of peacekeeping instruction on May 10.

“They left with foundational skills in peacekeeping and conflict resolution, and a peer-to-peer network. We hope that other countries will follow this lead,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN under-secretary-general, on the occasion of International Day of UN Peacekeepers. “Each of these efforts show how much can be achieved with new ways of looking at the problem, strong political will and strategic partnerships.”

Only four per cent of deployed military peacekeepers are women and recruitment numbers are low.

“This means that we are missing a vital opportunity for women’s meaningful contribution to peace,” said Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka, who also serves as executive director of UN Women. “We are determined to work with partners to change the look and feel of security institutions and overturn the stereotypes about who belongs there.”

Female peacekeepers can help prevent sexual violence during and after conflict, provide safe environments for survivors of sexual violence and promote women’s participation in political processes. Additionally, they make the peacekeeping force more approachable, can interact more easily with women in gender-segregated societies, and help female ex-combatants reintegrate into civilian life.

Cadets studied conflict resolution, medical training, urban combat and field engineering, and underwent fitness training with jiu-jitsu and military marching.

The programme, agreed last year between the Ministry of Defence, the UN and the General Women’s Union, will foster recruitment of Arab female peacekeepers. Cadets from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan and the UAE underwent training at the Khawla bint Al Azwar Military Academy for Women in Abu Dhabi.

The agreement followed a Security Council Resolution to double the number of women as uniformed personnel in UN Peacekeeping Operations by 2020.

The initiative can be expanded and replicated elsewhere, said Mouza Al Shehhi, the executive director of the UN Women UAE Liaison Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council. “This promises great potential in terms of increasing the number of women serving in international peacekeeping forces with military and police mandates, which the United Nations is seeking to double by 2020.”

Updated: May 31, 2019 11:57 AM

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