Indian female police officers inspire women to join Liberian Police to support rule of law

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Monrovia, Liberia - The presence of the all-female Indian Formed Police Unit (FPU) in Liberia has inspired Liberian women to join the Liberia National Police (LNP), Head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj, said when she awarded UN peacekeeping medals to more than 120 Indian police officers in Monrovia.

"You have made a real difference, not only to us in UNMIL, but to a cross-section of Liberians, especially women and girls. Your presence in Liberia has demonstrated that women can play and have an increasingly crucial role in the establishment of the rule of law in post-conflict countries," she stated.

Commenting on the prevalence of rape and atrocities consistently being committed against Liberian girls and women, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) emphasized that the deployment of the Indian female police officers was reassuring as "you greatly contribute to the healing that is needed by all Liberians recovering from the civil war and you have shown that women need not be victims, but healers and protectors in the new Liberia".

Ms. Løj described the professional and community outreach activities of the Indian female police officers as "symbolic of the policing qualities" they have displayed while serving in Liberia. She commended the Government of India for the tremendous contribution it continues to make to United Nations peace operations, especially here in Liberia, and expressed appreciation for the decision of the Indian Government to provide an additional formed police unit to UNMIL. In September, the Security Council endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendation to boost the UNPOL presence in Liberia at this stage of the Mission's drawdown.

Meanwhile, Contingent Commander, Rakhi Sahi, described India's initiative to send the first ever all-female police unit to participate in the UN peacekeeping operations in Liberia during January 2007 as an "unprecedented contribution signifying the emerging role of female police officers in post-conflict zones". She noted that it also demonstrated the significance that India attached to gender mainstreaming.

This second all-female Indian Formed Police Unit was deployed to Liberia in January 2008 and has been carrying out static monitoring, stand-by, town, mobile and anti-robbery patrols in Monrovia, as well as supporting crowd and traffic control for the LNP and protecting UNMIL staff and assets.

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Rule of Law, Ms. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, UN Police Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Gautam Sawang, Ambassador of Lebanon and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Liberia, His Excellency Mansour Abdallah, Honorary Consul General of India in Liberia, Mr. Upjit Jeety were among others who attended the ceremony.