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Indian Women Peacekeepers in Sudan Conflict Zone

Jan 13, 2023

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Today we will discuss Indian Women Peacekeepers in Sudan Conflict Zone our today's edition of Current Affairs. Read further to upgrade your UPSC CSE knowledge and also understand the topic’s relevance to the UPSC syllabus.

For Prelims: Current events of national and international importance

About UN Peacekeeping Mission, UN Security Council Resolution 1325

For Mains: General Studies Paper II - International Relations 

UN Peacekeeping Mission and India’s contribution, Women in Peacekeeping, UNSCR1325

Context

Recently, India deployed a platoon of women peacekeepers in Abyei on the border of Sudan and South Sudan as part of the Indian Battalion in the United Nations Interim Security Force.

Probable Question

Peacekeeping has proven to be one of the most effective tools available to the UN to assist host countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace. Analyze the given statement. (150 words, 10 marks).

About the Contingent of Women Peacekeepers

  • The platoon includes two women Army officers – a Major from the Corps of Signals and a Captain from the Corps of Engineers.
  • The contingent has 25 women soldiers from the Corps of Military Police (CMP) and the Assam Rifles.
  • The contingent will remain deployed in Abyei for a period of six months.
  • This is the first time an all-women Army contingent has been deployed in Abyei on a UN mission. Earlier, women officers have served in various conflict-torn countries in challenging assignments – in medical duties and as military observers among others – as part of UN Missions.

Tasks to be undertaken by the contingent

  • The female engagement teams (FET) will deal with situations involving women and children who suffer the most in a conflict situation.
  • The tasks given to FETs include conduct of joint patrols, dialogue with local women or girls, assistance during humanitarian crises, information gathering and perception management.
  • The soldiers will specialize in community outreach, besides performing extensive security related tasks as well.

Also Read: UPSC Essentials: Women Freedom Fighters of India

Indian Women Peacekeepers in the UN

  • The Corps of Military Police (CMP) is the only arm of the Army which was opened for recruitment of women soldiers in 2021.
  • Deployment of women peacekeepers in Abyei is India’s largest single unit of women peacekeepers in a UN Mission since it deployed the first-ever all women’s contingent from the Central Reserve Police Force in Liberia in 2007 as part of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
  • A fully formed Female Police Unit with CRPF personnel was deployed in the African nation in 2007, making it the first exclusive female team of police pressed into action in any UN peacekeeping force.
  • Indian women like Dr Kiran Bedi, Major Suman Gawani and Shakti Devi have made a mark for themselves in UN Peacekeeping missions.

About the UN Peacekeeping Mission

  • The mission is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support.
  • It aims at assisting host countries transition from situations of conflict to peace.
  • The U.N. began its Peacekeeping efforts in 1948 when it deployed military observers to West Asia to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours
  • U.N. Peacekeepers provide security as well as political and peacebuilding support to conflict-ridden countries.
  • Three basic principles guiding U.N.’s Peacekeeping missions are:
  1. Consent of the parties
  2. Impartiality
  3. Non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate

India’s contributions towards United Nations Peacekeeping forces

  • India has been among the largest troop-contributing countries to the U.N. peacekeeping missions.
  • In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a U.N. Peacekeeping mission.
  • Over 200,000 Indians have served in 49 U.N. Peacekeeping missions since 1948.

Importance of Women Peacekeepers

  • Women peacekeepers help in mainstreaming women and children into Community and Social developmental projects like they did in Congo and South Sudan.
  • They have the ability to reach out and connect with women and children in local population, especially victims of sexual violence in conflict zones.
  • Women peacekeepers serve as powerful mentors and role models for women and girls in post-conflict settings in the host community.
  • Women peacekeepers help in building trust and confidence with local communities and help improve access and support for local women.
UN Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325): The resolution calls for an expansion of the role and contribution of women in its operations, including uniformed women peacekeepers.

FAQs:

Q1. What is the Role of Women in Peacekeeping?

Answer: Women peacekeepers help in mainstreaming women and children into Community and Social developmental projects. They have the ability to reach out and connect with women and children in local population, especially victims of sexual violence in conflict zones. Women peacekeepers help in building trust and confidence with local communities and help improve access and support for local women.

Q 2. What Challenges do you think Female Peacekeepers Face?

Answer: Women in peacekeeping face three main challenges: 

  • The exclusion of and discrimination against female peacekeepers
  • The relegation of female peacekeepers to safe spaces
  • SEAHV (sexual exploitation, abuse, harassment and violence) of female peacekeepers.

Q 3. How many Peacekeeping Missions are Currently Active?

Answer: There are currently 12 peacekeeping operations led by the Department of Peace Operations. 

News Source: Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/largest-unit-of-indian-women-peacekeepers-in-sudan-conflict-zone-8366343/

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