Assistant Inspector of Police Annah Chota from Zimbabwe has received the International Female Police Peacekeeper Award for her service and achievements in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
The award was given at the International Women and Law Enforcement Conference in Cairns, Australia on 18 September.
Ms. Chota is the first police officer from Zimbabwe to receive the award. It recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of female police officers serving the United Nations and is bestowed annually since 2011.
As head of the Gender and Children Affairs unit in the police component of UNISFA, Ms. Chota helped establish a women’s network in Abyei. Through training workshops and campaigns with local communities, Ms. Chota contributed to a shift in how communities deal with rape, domestic violence, child marriages and forced marriages, by recognising rape of a wife by a husband as an offence. As a result, more women are reporting gender-based violence, and in the absence of a police service in Abyei, community protection committees can now record and recognize sexual and gender-based crimes.
Upon receiving the award, Ms. Chota stressed that it underscores “the value of hard work, professionalism, teamwork and discipline, which every peacekeeper must exhibit”.
United Nations Police Adviser, Police Commissioner Stefan Feller lauded Ms. Chota’s efforts to promote community-oriented policing in Abyei. “Assistant Inspector of Police Annah Chota made a key contribution towards restoring trust of the public in the police and encouraging children, women and men in Abyei to become partners in preventing and detecting crime,” he said.
The United Nations participation at the annual conference aims to reach and attract more police women to join the 1,098 female police officers from 69 countries, which are serving as United Nations police officers in UN Peacekeeping Missions. It is part of the United Nations Global Effort initiative, together with Member States, to reach 20 percent women in UN police by 2020. For UN delegation members, the conference is followed by a training workshop on how to strengthen the host State police capacity to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.
Zimbabwe provides 85 police officers to UN operations in South Sudan (UNMISS), Sudan (UNAMID), and Abyei (UNISFA) and Guinea Bissau (UNIOGBIS), 31 percent of which are women.