The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Ms. Karin Landgren, commended 125 Indian Police Officers, including 103 women and 22 men, for their contribution to peace in Liberia at an award ceremony held in the capital, Monrovia today.
The UN envoy thanked India's peacekeepers for being at the forefront of UN peacekeeping operations with 7846 Indian peacekeepers currently deployed around the world. India is the third largest troop contributing country to UN peacekeeping operations.
As the first country to send an all Female Formed Police Unit to a peacekeeping mission, India has blazed the trail in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which recognizes that armed conflicts often affect women and girls the most severely and so mandates that women should play a more prominent role in peacekeeping efforts.
Speaking to the Indian Police officers as they were awarded their service medals, SRSG Landgren said "We are immensely proud of each and every one of you for the difference you have made, and of the inspiration you have given Liberian girls and women." "You will leave behind the lasting and powerful image of strength and nurture, and of behavior that confirmed the essential qualities of trust and respect in our daily interactions with our Liberian brothers and sisters."
Since being deployed the Indian peacekeepers have also provided important outreach programmes to local communities, such as basic self-defense training and computer classes to Liberian women to help improve their lives. The Police Officers will be returning to India shortly after serving for one year with UNMIL and will be replaced by a new all female Formed Police Unit arriving from India.
Dignitaries present at the ceremony included the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr Aeneas C. Chuma, UNMIL Police Commissioner John Nielson, UNMIL Force Commander Major Gen. Leonard Ngondi and other UNMIL Senior military and civilian staff.