Civilians in war-torn areas trust Rwandan peacekeepers, says Samantha Power

Rwandan troops in peacekeeping missions around the world have earned the trust of host communities and serve as a source of strength for other peacekeepers serving alongside them, the United States’ most senior UN diplomat has said.
 Rwandan peacekeepers in Central African Republic disarm a militiaman earlier this year. Courtesy.
Rwandan peacekeepers in Central African Republic disarm a militiaman earlier this year. Courtesy.

Rwandan troops in peacekeeping missions around the world have earned the trust of host communities and serve as a source of strength for other peacekeepers serving alongside them, the United States’ most senior UN diplomat has said.

Amb. Samantha Power, the US permanent representative to the United Nations, told a UN meeting in New York this week that a new comprehensive review of peacekeeping launched by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon should, among others, “draw lessons from the leadership of Rwanda” with regard to protection of civilians in conflict-stricken areas.

 

She was speaking during Monday’s ‘Open Debate on Regional Partnerships and Peacekeeping’, a session organised by Rwanda, whose one-month presidency of the Security Council ends tomorrow.

 

“Rwanda’s troops were among the first boots on the ground when conflicts metastasized in the Central Africa Republic and South Sudan. And it’s not just that the Rwandans volunteer for complex and dangerous missions.

 

“It’s that because of their commitment to protect civilians, the population in countries where the Rwandans serve trust them; troops from other countries who serve alongside them draw strength from their fortitude; and aggressors who would attack civilians fear them,” Power said.

Rwanda maintains more than 5,000 peacekeepers in various international peacekeeping missions, making it the sixth largest troop contributing country toward global peace efforts.

At the Security Council session, Rwanda successfully tabled a draft resolution that seeks to garner robust international support for regional peacekeeping capabilities, particularly in Africa.

The US diplomat said her government will continue to support regional peacekeeping initiatives, adding that next week’s meeting in Washington D.C between President Barack Obama and African Heads of State and Government will discuss “how the United States can deepen our partnership with countries that commit troops both to UN and regional peacekeeping, and how we can help them address persistent operational challenges along with other partners”.

Click here for Amb. Samantha Power’s full statement.

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