Member States of the East Africa Stand by Force Coordination Mechanism-EASFCOM, have been urged to recruit more female police officers to serve in peace support missions, not only for gender balance purpose but also to address various female-related challenges.
The call was made by Bjorn Hareide, the EASFCOM Senior Advisor on police matters, at the closure of the two-week UN Police Officer Course-UNPOC for 57 officers conducted at Rwanda Police Academy in Musanze.
“You are now human rights ambassadors both in your respective countries and in peace support missions. I ask you to carry this message of ensuring that we have more female officers, you should advocate for closing this gap, we need more than the current 29 percent,’’ Hareide said.
Rwanda currently contributes the highest number of female police officers in the UN peace support missions.
Rwanda hosted the pre-deployment course for the first time. The participants were drawn from Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Norway, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The programme was funded by Norway under the UN auspices.
In his remarks, the Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana, said that the Rwanda National Police is committed to international peace given the unique history of conflict which culminated into genocide.
“The search for peace is not a choice, it is a prerequisite right...if mankind is to live happily with one another in successive generations and at the same time enjoy sustainable development,’’ Gasana said.
Gasana noted that peace and security operations can never be successful without appropriate skills and training.
“Had there been international political will, committed and effective peace initiatives to intervene, millions of innocent Rwandans would not have perished in the genocide,’’ he added.
One of the participants, ASP Edith M Swebe, from Tanzania, noted that the subjects on the establishment of safety and security, mentoring and mediation will guide them in maintaining peace.