The Pearson Centre is supporting a long-time partner, the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), in reviewing its Policy for Peacekeeping Operations from a gender perspective.
The policy review, which will be launched with a workshop in Freetown in the first week of October 2012, is an opportunity for the SLP to examine emerging issues and challenges in the management of peacekeeping deployments, while focusing on gender and the specific needs of its female peacekeepers.
By ensuring the Policy on Peacekeeping Operations reflects the needs of both women and men who are deployed to mission, the SLP will better prepare its officers to promote human rights, protect civilian populations, and reform national police forces in conflict zones.
The policy review is inclusive. It will leverage national capacities and existing efforts to respond to gender issues through the SLP Gender Unit and Peacekeeping Operations Department.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, UN Women, and the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) will also contribute to the process, benefiting from Sierra Leone’s past experiences in promoting gender equality.
Other important stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Defense, the 50/50 Group Sierra Leone and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces will attend the workshop to share their knowledge and perspectives as well.
During the civil war from 1991-2002, Sierra Leone hosted a large UN peacekeeping mission. Since 2005, the SLP has made tremendous strides in promoting women’s participation in peacekeeping, its policy will now reflect this effort.
Today, the country is actively involved in both UN and African Union (AU) peacekeeping missions. The SLP currently has officers deployed to the UN missions in Haiti (3 men and 1 woman), Darfur (118 men and 75 women), and the AU mission in Somalia (30 men and 9 women). As well, there are hundreds of other men and women who are awaiting deployment.
The Pearson Centre’s support to the SLP is provided in the framework the African Police for Peace Project (APP), a multi-year initiative funded by the Global Peace and Security Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada. The objective of the APP project is to strengthen African policing capacity in peace operations and crisis situations.