UN mission in Abyei welcomes deployment of Indian women peacekeepers

By Yoshita Singh
    United Nations, Jan 16 (PTI) The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei on Monday welcomed the deployment of the single largest all-women platoon of peacekeepers from India, saying it reaffirms the country's continued commitment towards peacekeeping.
    The United Nations Security Council, by its resolution 1990 of June 27, 2011, responded to the urgent situation in Sudan’s Abyei region by establishing the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
    “UNISFA is excited to welcome the deployment of the single largest all-women platoon of peacekeepers in recent years from India. They join @IndBatt serving in Abyei @UNISFA1. The deployment reaffirms India's continued commitment to implementation UNISFA mandate @UNPeacekeeping," the mission tweeted.
    The platoon of Indian women peacekeepers arrived in Abyei on Saturday to begin its deployment with the UN mission.
    “Making the nation proud! India’s all-women peacekeeping unit for @UNPeacekeeping in @UNISFA
1 reached Abyei today," India’s Permanent Mission to the UN said in a tweet Saturday.
    The platoon of women peacekeepers has been deployed in Abyei as part of the Indian Battalion in UNISFA and is India’s largest single unit of women peacekeepers in a UN Mission since it deployed the first-ever all women’s contingent in Liberia in 2007.
    As the Indian women peacekeepers departed India on January 6 to begin their deployment with UNISFA, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Proud to see this. India has a tradition of active participation in UN peacekeeping missions. The participation by our Nari Shakti is even more gladdening."
    "India is deploying an all women’s platoon of peacekeepers as part of our battalion to the UN Mission in Abyei @UNISFA_1. This is the single largest deployment of women peacekeepers in recent years. Good wishes to the team!” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj tweeted earlier this month.
    The platoon, comprising two officers and 25 other ranks, is part of an engagement platoon and specialises in community outreach. It will perform extensive security-related tasks as well.
    “Their presence will be especially welcome in Abyei, where a recent spurt in violence has triggered a spate of challenging humanitarian concerns for women and children in the conflict zone,” India's Permanent Mission to the UN said earlier this month.
    In September last year, Kamboj had said in a Security Council briefing on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations that the role of women peacekeepers cannot be over-emphasised in effective peacekeeping.
    She underlined that India took pride in having deployed the first-ever all-women peacekeeping contingent in Liberia in 2007, which she said "inspired a whole generation" of Liberian women to take part in the country's security sector.
    "We stand ready to contribute further to this regard,” she said.
    The Indian mission noted in the statement that women peacekeepers are “highly regarded” in UN missions throughout the world for their ability to reach out and connect with women and children in local populations, especially victims of sexual violence in conflict zones.
    “Indian women particularly have a rich tradition in peacekeeping,” the statement, said adding that UN’s first Police Adviser Kiran Bedi, United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award 2019 honoree Major Suman Gawani and Shakti Devi have made a mark for themselves in UN peacekeeping.
    In 2014, Devi of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, who was deployed in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), was named the recipient of the International Female Police Peacekeeper Award by the UN’s Police Division for her “exceptional achievements” with the UN mission in Afghanistan, including her efforts towards helping victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
    “Our teams in the Congo and South Sudan have also done sterling work in mainstreaming women and children into community and social developmental projects at the grassroots level,” the Indian mission said.
    The role of the 125-strong women peacekeepers of the Indian Formed Police Unit deployed with the UN mission in Liberia has been lauded for inspiring women in the West African nation to become police officers.
    Then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had hailed India’s women peacekeeping unit in Liberia as an inspiration for all, saying their conduct served as an example of how women can help the world body in its efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse.
    As of October 31, 2022, India is the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping missions with 5,887 troops and personnel deployed across 12 missions, after Bangladesh (7,017).

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)