The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: UN Commends Rwandan Women Peacekeepers in Ivory Coast

THE United Nations police adviser, Ann-Marie Orler, has welcomed the arrival of Rwanda's female police contingent in Ivory Coast.

The contingent of 15 female police officers is the first police unit to serve with the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) since it was established in 2004 by the Security Council to facilitate the peace process in the country.

The West African country was split into two by civil war in 2002: the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south.

"The Police Division welcomes this contingent of highly qualified female officers. The goal of the United Nations, since 2009, is to have at least 20 per cent of our police service comprising female officers by the end of 2014," Orler, told the UN News Centre on Friday.

"We are only half-way there globally and in Côte d'Ivoire, but more deployments like this will make it possible," she added.

In the aftermath of the post-election violence that followed the 2010 presidential polls, the mission is assisting the West African nation with a number of key tasks, including the restoration of law and order, national reconciliation, the holding of legislative elections, and economic recovery.

The addition of the formed police unit brings the total number of police officers serving with UNOCI to 484, including 45 women with the arrival of the 15 Rwandan officers.

"I very much hope that other member states will continue to increase the number of female officers that they deploy," Ms. Orler added.

According to the UN Police Division, the world body's policing activities have expanded rapidly over the last decade.

The UN has almost tripled the number of police authorized for deployment - from less than 6,000 to more than 17,500.

The UN police mandates have also become more multi-dimensional, including roles such as safeguarding law and order while facilitating the launch of domestic police services, as well as more traditional role of advising and mentoring.

Rwanda has been making global headlines for its outstanding role in providing the much-needed females in various peacekeeping missions in the world.

Official figures from the peace keeping unit at the Rwanda National Police indicate that of the 490 police personnel on deployment, 150 are female.

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