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UNMISS Police chief hails female peacekeepers’ contribution to protection of civilians

The role women play in UN peacekeeping operations is critical to the protection of civilians in the conflict-affected country of South Sudan, says the Head of Police in the United Nations Mission.

Speaking at the UN medal parade ceremony for the Ghanaian Formed Police Unit (FPU), the UN Commissioner of Police, Bruce Munyambo, said their contribution was crucial to delivering UNMISS’ mandate.

The contingent of 270 FPU officers – including 35 female officers – were deployed to help provide protection for more than 112,000 civilians living on the UN protection site in Bentiu, in the Unity region of South Sudan, who have been displaced by ongoing conflict in the world’s newest country.

“The women here today, through their active duty, have shown the female face of peacekeepers, enhancing security and safety for local communities and in doing so, perhaps they have made us, as a mission more approachable to the most vulnerable groups of society,” said Bruce Munyambo.

While commending the peacekeepers for “the important and difficult task” they carry out, Commissioner Munyambo said he hoped they would “encourage more female officers from Ghana to join the peacekeeping operation in the future”.

The Ghana Formed Police Unit is the only contingent commanded by a female officer in the Mission.

The Commanding Officer, Assistant Superintendent Sylvia Adzo Sowlitse said the task had not been easy, but with the dedication and commitment of the men and women of her unit, she had been able to contribute to the Mission’s efforts to protect vulnerable civilians in Bentiu and Wau, in Bahr el Ghazal region, where 60 FPU personnel are deployed.

 “I appreciate the support I get from the civilian components, our UN Police colleagues and community leaders in the protection site who have been very helpful as we work to protect the civilians under UN protection”, said Commanding Officer, Sylvia Adzo Sowlitse.