A contingent of 160 female-dominated police officers on Monday left Kigali International Airport aboard a RwandAir flight for a one-year peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.
The Formed Police Unit Three commanded by Senior Superintendent of Police, Jacque Urujeni replaced the maiden female-dominated unit headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Teddy Ruyenzi, which was deployed to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in June last year.
The replaced contingent returned home later in the day after a successful tour-of-duty.
The female contingent was pledged by His Excellency Paul Kagame during the UN Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping Operations in 2015.
During the pre-deployment briefing, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dan Munyuza, told the officer to use their skills in order to fulfil their duty.
“You are going in a country with different weather condition but you have been prepared and trained physically and mentally to stand such tests and to accomplish your duties,” Munyuza said.
“Uphold the legacy of the contingent you are replacing, which has been credited for much success, work with other peacekeepers and the people of South Sudan and respect their cultures,” he added.
The IGP reminded the peacekeepers that their conduct while on or off duty should reflect the image of their country and the force.
“Serve with commitment and discipline, it is what Rwanda stands for and it is what you must project while out there,” he emphasised.
He spoke at length about discipline, integrity, and respect for each and teamwork as pillars to the effective delivery of the mission mandate.
“Our country has achieved a lot in all sectors of development including security both locally and cross-border in peacekeeping missions, sustain that legacy and build from it,” Munyuza said.
He also reminded them that the Rwandan culture of human security goes beyond borders even in peacekeeping missions.
The deployment in which women constitute more than 50 per cent of the contingent is in line with the national gender policy on gender promotion and equality.
It also demonstrates the country’s respect for the UN Security Council resolution 1325 that stressed the important role women can play in peacekeeping and conflict resolution.
The UN resolution calls for more women in decision-making positions, a gendered perspective to be “mainstreamed” across peacekeeping and for more women to participate in field operations as police and as human rights observers.
Women constitute about 30 percent of the seven FPU contingents deployed in various South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR) and Haiti, making Rwanda the second largest contributor of female peacekeepers.