International Day of UN Peacekeepers, 29 May 2009
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International Day for
UN Peacekeepers, 29 May 2009

Photos

Civilian

Ellen Margrethe Løj, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, participates in a medal ceremony for the all-women Formed Police Unit from India.  Ms. Løj leads one of the UN’s largest peacekeeping operations, with more than 10,000 soldiers and 1,200 police under her operational command. Leila Zerrougui, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, visits a shelter for women in a camp for displaced persons in the eastern part of the country. Female personnel and officials have a special role to play in responding to the disturbingly high levels of sexual and gender-based violence that have plagued the Congo. Public information contributes to the success of UN peacekeeping operations by explaining their mandate to local populations while building public support for fragile peace processes.  Some of today’s peacekeeping missions rely on sophisticated media like television and websites, others continue to reach out directly to the public through town hall meetings, gatherings ‘under the big tree’, or other outreach activities.  At left, a UN television reporter in Kosovo conducts an interview on the streets of Mitrovica. A humanitarian officer working for the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste discusses the provision of relief and recovery assistance with the manager of a camp for displaced persons.  In Monrovia, Ellen Margrethe Løj, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first elected women head of State in Africa, participate in the launch of the "16 Days of Activism" campaign to strengthen women's rights and stop gender-based violence.
Former Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, Jane Holl Lute, greets children at a camp for displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, based at the UN Headquarters in NY, oversee more than 113,000 peacekeepers deployed around the world.  Here, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Susanna Malcorra, briefs the Security Council on the “great strain” that peace operations face as they strive to meet growing demands. At right, a public information officer speaks directly to the people at a community gathering in Mobeka, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.   A Geographic Information System officer collects data to be used in the production of maps for the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste. International and national staff members of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo don local dress and participate in a march to demonstrate their solidarity with victims of sexual violence, a scourge in the war-affected areas of the country.

Military

A Nigerian peacekeeper stands her ground on a typical day during Liberia’s six-month rainy season.  While ordinary life can grind to a halt as dirt roads become impassable, the UN peacekeepers continue to carry out their crucial military and humanitarian activities. As part of their outreach to the local community in Haiti, Nepalese peacekeepers often distribute school kits, toys and food to children in need. Here, a Nepalese peacekeeper and children at a local orphanage enjoy a meal together.  Ghana is one of the largest contributors of peacekeepers to the United Nations, and also provides one of the highest percentages of female soldiers. Here, women peacekeepers from Ghana parade at a ceremony marking the end of their contingent’s tour of duty in Liberia.  A South African soldier woman serving with the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo works on geographical surveillance and verification, a critical element in strategic planning. During a free clinic day sponsored by the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), mothers with their young children seek advice from a female Ghanaian medical officer.
Local children often have a fascination with the female peacekeepers sent to their countries to foster stability.  Here, a UN Blue Beret serving with the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia-Eritrea smiles amid a sea of children. During a free clinic day sponsored by the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), mothers with their young children seek advice from a female Ghanaian medical officer. These South African peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of the Congo keep their spirits up while serving in the country’s volatile east, the scene of some the fiercest clashes.  More than five percent of South Africa’s peacekeepers are women.  A military liaison officer from New Zealand on patrol with the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste hugs a local baby in just one of countless natural, warm interactions that take place spontaneously between women peacekeepers and the people they serve. A Nepalese doctor serving with United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo visits with local children in the village of Mahagi, in the Ituri District.   Peacekeepers often provide free medical services to local communities as part of the UN’s broader efforts to help foster peace and stability.
A member of the Pakistani military contingent in southern Sudan provides free care to a local woman. Pakistani doctors working together with Sudanese doctors and medical students treated more than 40,000 patients during Free Clinic Days in 2008 using medical supplies donated by the Government of Pakistan .

Police

The deployment of an all-women Formed Police Unit (FPU) from India to the United Nations Mission in Liberia made international headlines in 2006.  Since then, the ground-breaking women peacekeepers have been warmly embraced in Liberia and have served as role models to the country’s women and girls, helping to spark a significant increase in the number of Liberian women joining the national police force. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Côte d’Ivoire, Y. J. Choi, attends a funeral ceremony for UN police officers Fatima Moussa of Niger and Insa Ndiaye of Senegal who were killed in a road accident while on duty. Officer Moussa was one of ten women, out of a total of 132 peacekeepers, who lost their lives serving under the United Nations flag in 2008. Members of the Nigerian Formed Police Unit (FPU) serving in the United Nations Mission in Liberia march with shields in hand. FPUs are specialized, self-sufficient and fully mobile rapid reaction police units that are entirely composed of police officers from a single contingent, with expertise in crowd management and other tactical operations. The Police Adviser for the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Andrew Hughes, shakes hands with female police officers from Timor-Leste who were trained by the United Nations.  UN police officers from around the world train local police forces to international standards, as well as undertake efforts to promote gender parity. A proud member of the Bangladeshi Formed Police Unit stands beside her unit’s tactical vehicles.  Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest contributors of soldiers and police to the United Nations, with more than 9,000 uniformed personnel serving around the globe.
China, a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council, has increased its participation in UN peacekeeping in recent years.  Here, two policewomen from China serve in the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste. A United Nations police officer from Cameroon serving with the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire speaks frankly to youth about protecting themselves from HIV/AIDS. Peacekeeping work doesn’t end when the sun goes down.  The Indian FPU carries out night patrols alongside their national counterparts, serving to promote stability and deter crime. Members of a Mongolian Formed Police Unit (FPU) providing security at the Special Court for Sierra Leone demonstrate their martial skills.  The Court will try those who bear the greatest responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law committed during the country’s brutal conflict.  The war was well known for its barbarity, including mutilation of civilians, particularly women, and the forced recruitment of child soldiers. UN police and military forces help provide security in Chad’s border region with Darfur where hundreds of thousands of refugees are located.  Here, female United Nations police officers and their Chadian counterparts interview refugees.
A United Nations police officer from Portugal serving in the Vulnerable Persons Unit works side by side with her counterpart in the national police of Timor-Leste. Sexual violence against women often afflicts countries emerging from conflict.  Here, a UN police officer in Timor-Leste interviews a rape victim.  Victims of sexual crimes are often more comfortable being interviewed by women police officers.