Secretary-General highlights women police officers in peacekeeping
Gender parity is important across the United Nations, but it is particularly crucial at peacekeeping missions.
That was the message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking on Friday at a General Assembly meeting to increase the participation of women police officers in UN peacekeeping operations.
He said women bring “an essential extra dimension” to one of the UN’s most important tasks.
“When a crowd needs to be controlled, a house searched or a suspect questioned, a policewoman’s presence can defuse tension and guard against offense. When women and girls suffer sexual violence, they know they will find a sympathetic ear. And when they see female role models keeping the peace, we have seen women and girls become inspired to join the force and do the same. These are all key ingredients for a durable peace.”
More than 100,000 military and police personnel serve at UN peacekeeping missions worldwide. In 2009 the UN launched an initiative to increase women’s participation in peacekeeping to 20 per cent by the year 2014.
The Secretary-General also used the meeting to honour three women police officers at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) who died in the January 12 earthquake.
Dianne Penn, United Nations Radio.