By Arun Kumar
Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) In preventing violence against women and girls in Liberia, Indian women peacekeepers have set an example that must be emulated in UN peacekeeping missions across the world, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
"I recently met with an all women police unit from India in Liberia who provide an excellent example of the steps a UN mission can take in cooperation with the host government to prevent violence against women and girls," Clinton told the Security Council Wednesday.
"The Indian unit has helped to motivate more Liberian women to participate in a campaign against rape, launched jointly by UN and the Liberian government," she said, adding the women peacekeepers have "set an example that must be repeated in UN peacekeeping missions all over the world".
Asking member states to include women in designing and implementing national and international peace building programmes, she said: "More bodies like the Indian unit in Liberia were needed to combat sexual violence in the conflict zones."
"We must seek to ensure that our respective military and police forces especially those that will participate in peacekeeping missions develop the expertise to prevent and respond to violence against women and children," Clinton said.
"This will be helped by increasing the number of women who serve in UN peacekeeping missions," she said, adding "Let us not forget that women lead the call for peace in communities shattered by violence."
During its 15-year-long civil war Liberia suffered from rampant rape and other forms of sexual violence and India has recently offered to help train the police force of the west African nation in an coordinated effort with the UN.
The peacekeeping unit, comprising of Indian women, is the first all female UN police unit which has been stationed in the west African nation since 2007 and will return in 2010.