India to Double Number of Women Volunteers for UN Peace Missions

Thirty-eight officers from military, police and diplomatic services from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and the UK have come together in New Delhi for a course on integrating women into peacekeeping missions, not just as supporters but as active participants.

New Delhi: With experts advocating a greater role for women in peacekeeping missions in order to fight the scourge of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV), India plans to double the number of women representatives to UN peacekeeping missions by the end of 2018.

Vice Chief of¬†Staff of¬†the Indian Army Lt Gen Sharat Chand confirmed this during¬†an ongoing international course on ‚ÄėMainstreaming Gender in¬†UN Peacekeeping to¬†end Conflict-related Sexual Violence” in¬†New Delhi.

“I have been made to¬†understand that women representation in¬†UN peacekeeping missions is a mere 4 percent and they hope to¬†make it 8 percent. We hope to¬†make it from¬†our end also 8 percent by¬†the end of¬†this year,” Lt Gen Chand said.

Experts welcome Lt Gen Chand’s views that greater participation of¬†women in¬†areas of¬†conflict prevention was particularly necessary for¬†lasting peace and security.

Defense analyst and army veteran Major General (Retd) G D Bakshi opined that although women officers are more vulnerable in a war-like situation, they are capable of playing a bigger role in peace operations, as women are the worst sufferers of wars and conflicts.

“India Army is one of¬†the largest contributors to¬†the UN peacekeeping operations around¬†the world. Women officers’ role is challenging in¬†view of¬†the presence of¬†various militias in¬†several countries which make women officers more vulnerable. But like¬†Lt Gen Chand has stressed, women officers can play a major role in¬†peace and security since¬†women bear the brunt of¬†war and conflict. Therefore, greater participation of¬†women will be a welcome step,” Bakshi told Sputnik.

Lt Gen Sarath Chand advocated that women should not be limited to supportive roles, as gender mainstreaming is a way to end conflict-related sexual violence.

“I have also been a part of¬†UN peacekeeping missions and I have witnessed the suffering of¬†women. Rape and sexual violence are used as¬†tactics of¬†war by¬†rebel groups,” Lt Gen Sarath Chand said while recalling his experiences in¬†UN peacekeeping missions.

Source: Sputnik International

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