Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping Trains Female Peacekeepersfrom Across the World in India
Women’s participation in the security sector has been recognized by the United Nations as a critical component of mission success. This has also been repeatedly stated by commanders on the ground themselves. Women today are playing a greater role in UN peacekeeping operations than in the past. They are deployed in all capacities – police, military and civilian – and have been making a positive impact on peacekeeping environments, both in a supporting role towards building peace and protecting women's rights. Female military officers are in great demand to staff protection teams, community liaison teams, drive strong civil-military coordination, and reach out to interact with women in the host country, in particular with the survivors of sexual violence.
In order to encourage prospective female peacekeepers and to provide them with adequate skills, the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in India, in partnership with UN Women is organising a two week course dedicated to train the female officers from across the world. The course is being conducted at Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi from 21 March to 01 April 2016. A total of 41 participants from 25 different countries are attending the course to derive benefit from it and to be available to the United Nations for deployment in field areas.
The training team for the course consists of some of the most experienced and seasoned speakers from across the globe including those from CUNPK. Participation from all the continents including instructors, facilitators and evaluators has ensured a balanced mix towards training, focus and direction.
The need for the course has been felt due to the fact that the number of female military personnel deployed in current peacekeeping missions and military operations is very low. From one percent in 1993 to three percent in 2016, the participation of women in UN peacekeeping and special protection missions has only grown marginally in the last 23 years. This is in spite the vast support, periodic resolutions and overwhelming mandates that the United Nations and most countries including India have championed till date. Incidentally, India is one of the very few countries who even fielded a complete Women Police battalion in a UN mission in Liberia.
Through this course, CUNPK, India aims to train additional female peacekeepers who would then contribute towards reducing the biases and mitigating the sufferings in the world, especially in war torn societies. India has always considered participation of women in nation building as one of the most important aspects and has encouraged enhanced participation by women in all walks of life.
The current course is an outcome of a successful association between the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, United Nations and the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping in India. The inaugural session on March 21 was chaired by the Deputy Chief of Army Staff of India and attended by many senior officials and research scholars from various ministries and departments.
CUNPK, in the past too, has organized similar events which have earned distinguished accolades from the UN and other countries. Recently, CUNPK piloted a course on Conflict Related Sexual Violence with assistance from the Integrated Training Service (ITS), UN HQ, NY. The current course is also a step in the direction of the commitment given by the H’ble Prime Minister of India at the UN HQ in September 2015 to train additional persons from different countries.