The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has been supporting a number of the country’s institutions since the civil war ended in 2003.
A decade ago there were 16,000 UN uniformed personnel in the country and by the end of June there will be 1,204 military and 606 police.
India is the fourth largest police-contributing country worldwide, with 115 of these officers women, thus making India the third largest contributor of female police officers in the world.
In the history of UN peacekeeping this is the first ever all-female police unit.
The all-female Indian Formed Police Unit (FPU) have since provided 24-hour guard duty, public order management, night patrols in and around Monrovia and assistance in building the capacity of local security institutions.
So far there have been nine rotations of all-female police units from India in the post-conflict country.
The most significant impact this all-female FPU contingent has had on the country or more so Liberian women has been “inspiring Liberian women, imparting in them the spirit of professionalism and encouraging them to join operations that protect the nation” as Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said.
Women now make up 17 per cent of Liberia’s security sector as compared to 6 per cent in the last nine years prior to the arrival of the all-female police unit.
Colonel Madhubala Bala, FPU Contingent Commander, told the UN News Centre, “When the local women see the female peacekeepers, they get inspired by them – [they see] ladies can perform the same role as male counterparts… They’ve served as role models for the local girls, and the effect on Liberian women was very significant.”
In a statement, United Nation’s, Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, thanked all the women who served in the FPU for inspiring all Liberians, as well as current and future generations of female police officers, and becoming a role model for gender equality.
The 125 women and supporting personnel that constitute the FPU will return to their homes across various parts of India after concluding their one-year rotation in the post-conflict nation.
At a farewell ceremony, the Liberian President mentioned in her speech, “If I had my will, I would have recommended for another unit of the United Nations Mission in Liberia to leave, so that the Indian Formed Police Unit would continue its stay in the country for the time being.”
Liberia Bids Adieu to Female Peacekeeping Contingent from India
First all-female UN police unit leaves Liberia