New York: The UN peacekeeping missions
should have more women to increase trust with the local
populace, said Poonam Gupta, head of the Indian women`s
police unit in Liberia.
"Women by nature are non-threatening which gives an
advantage," Commander Gupta said, speaking from Liberia,
on the occasion of the International Day for Peacekeepers
being marked on Saturday.
"People trust women more, they are more compassionate,
and sexual exploitation and abuse are completely off the table
when the peacekeeper is a woman," she said.
The Indian police officers, stationed in Liberia since
2007, were the first all female police unit in UN peacekeeping
missions. Since then, other countries have started sending
women to peacekeeping missions.
Noting that an estimated 10 per cent of police officers
in UN missions are women, Atul Khare, a senior UN peacekeeping
official, said, "Not enough".
Com Gupta is heading the fifth contingent of the Indian
female police unit, which has garnered much praise including
from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.