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November 20, 09

NEWS / Indias all-female UN police unit serves as inspiration for Liberian women

20 November 2009 – Liberian girls and women should draw inspiration from the all-female Indian police unit serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to join law enforcement agencies in the service of their own nation, the top UN official in the West African country said today.
“I hope the inspiration that you have provided Liberian girls and women will be among the many lasting impressions of your work here in Liberia, and your work here will leave a positive legacy in the rule of law sector,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Ellen Margrethe Løj declared as she decorated 125 Indian women peacekeepers.

She praised the women for their important outreach programmes with basic self-defence training and computer classes, helping Liberian women to develop their capacities and practical skills and empowering them to improve their lives.

“Your medical outreach and awareness campaigns to promote proper hygiene and sanitation have touched the lives of many community members in Congo Town; you have adopted the pupils of Hebron Orphanage and Victory Chapel School, and you have positively changed their lives,” she said, mentioning some of the initiatives.

Ms. Løj praised India for being the first country to send an all-female police unit to a UN peacekeeping mission, citing a Security Council resolution recognizing that “armed conflicts often affect women and girls most severely, and so it mandates that women should play a more active role in peacekeeping efforts.”

Quoting Indian non-violence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who said, ‘be the change that you want to see in the world,’ she reminded all UNMIL peacekeepers to display the utmost professionalism in their work.

“Our behaviour must be a demonstration of our commitment to upholding the essential qualities of trust and respect in our daily interactions with our Liberian brothers and sisters,” she stressed.

UNMIL, set up by the Security Council in 2003, now numbers over 11,500 uniformed personnel and played a major role in restoring stability and a democratic government after more than a decade of civil war. But in a report to the Security Council in August, Mr. Ban warned that the gains remain fragile, especially with regard to security, rule of law and job creation.




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