On Thursday, 15th 2020 as the world was celebrating 20th anniversary of the Women, Peace, and Security Resolution in the Security Council, UNSCR 1325, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues organized a special media briefing where Ambassador Kelley Currie, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues discussed with reporter on various subjects on Women in Peacekeeping.
TOP AFRICA NEWS reporter requested Ambassador Kelley to speak about Rwanda’s role in the promotion of women in peacekeeping missions.
The meeting was virtually facilitated by the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub and was attended by various media persons from around Africa.
TOPAFRICANEWS reporter would like to know the U.S reactions about Rwanda’s role in the promotion of women in peacekeeping? and what help do the U.S plans to give Rwanda to strengthen that role.
Ambassador Kelley says that “We know that Rwanda has been a major TCC [Troop Contributing Country] contributing country and has done a tremendous job, including in supporting women in peacekeeping, which is a very important area that we in the United States have also very strongly supported.”
She added that the U.S does a lot of training with partners, including Rwanda, to make sure that not only the women who are participating directly in peacekeeping but the men who are participating with them are ready to empower and support this effort.
Based on past experience, Ambassador Kelley revealed that “We’ve seen very critically that when women do participate in peacekeeping, levels of sexual and gender-related violence go down; levels of sexual exploitation and abuse go down. One of the things that we’ve noticed – and you see this.”
However, she noted “we still have huge challenges, obviously, with sexual abuse and exploitation as we’ve seen recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But what we’ve seen is since we have made a concerted effort with peacekeeping and really increased the number of women who are directly involved in peacekeeping, not just as individual peacekeepers but all the way up the command chain, and as the UN has itself made a real commitment – again, through Security Council leadership – to provide for the tools for women to be peacekeepers, including making sure they have separate shower and dormitory facilities.”
In the beginning Peacekeepers both male and female had to share every thing including bathrooms
Ambassador Kelley revealed that “when we first started having women peacekeepers, they had nowhere to go to the bathroom, they had to use the same – be in the same facilities with men and it wasn’t – it didn’t work great.”
Lesson learnt from Rwanda
“So, we’ve learned a lot of lessons over the past 20 years, for sure, and Rwanda has been key in helping us to do that. So, we’re thrilled to have that ongoing partnership. But what we’ve seen is the levels of sexual abuse and exploitation involved in peacekeeping troops have dramatically declined since we’ve really made a concerted effort to incorporate more women directly into peacekeeping at all roles and levels.” Said Ambassador Kelley.
“What we’re now seeing is that we need to do a better job across the whole humanitarian spectrum to make sure that this horrible problem is fully eliminated from the humanitarian space. But peacekeeping has led the way and now we need to draw some of those important lessons from peacekeeping into the rest of the humanitarian space, including about accountability. And one thing that we have seen with the UN is that they’re not afraid now to cut countries off, to cut off units, and to send people back if they are involved in behavior that is inappropriate and that undermines the mission. And we are – really need to see that accountability become the norm across the whole humanitarian space as well.” She concluded.
Listen to the Podcast from the briefing on this link: https://soundcloud.com/africa-regional-media-hub/digital-briefing-20th-anniversary-of-the-women-peace-and-security-agenda