14 December 2010

Liberia: Female Indian Formed Police Unit 'an inspiration for Liberian women and girls'

UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Ellen Margrethe Løj praised the officers of the Indian Formed Police Unit 1 Contingent for going beyond their call of duty in building bridges between Liberian communities and peacekeepers. Their selfless and altruistic acts in the execution of their duties, she noted, have contributed to establishing and developing “meaningful relationships with our hosts.” SRSG Løj made these remarks when she awarded UN peacekeeping medals to 101 women, as well as 22 male officers of the Indian Formed Police Unit 1 serving the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for their contribution to the peace process in Liberia.

SRSG Løj described the Female Indian Formed Police serving in Liberia as the “true ambassadors” of India and the UN. She lauded the Indian police officers in assisting to “curb crime and public disorders, which allows Liberians to get on with their lives in peace.” The UN Envoy highlighted key achievements of the Indian contingent including the protection provided to pivotal installations in the country such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which houses the Office of the President; addressing emergency situations and crowd control; and their collaboration with the Liberian National Police and UN Police in carrying out effective night patrols.

The UN Envoy stated, “we are aware that you have been an inspiration for many Liberian girls and women by demonstrating the range of your abilities, skills and experience in dealing with law and order situations,” and also highlighted the public outreach activities of the contingent, emphasizing the provision of maternal and child healthcare as well as medical supplies given to Liberians. She commended the Indian Formed Police for the extensive training of the youth in Montserrado County in providing skills that can improve the livelihood and self confidence amongst girls in particular.

SRSG Løj thanked the Government of India for having been at the forefront of peacekeeping operations, and the first country to send an all-Female Formed Police Unit to a peacekeeping mission. “India has led the way in the implementation of aspects of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which is aimed at improving the situation of women in conflict situations,” she said.

Attending the medal ceremony on Friday, 10 December were Force Commander, Major-Gen. Muhammad Khalid; UN Police Commissioner, Mr. Gautam Sawang; Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Command officer-in-Charge, Maj.-Gen. Suraj Alao Abdurrahman; Honorary Consul-General of India, Mr. U.S. Sachdeva; and other UNMIL senior police and civilian officials.

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