Context: Major Suman Gawani, an Indian Army officer who served as a women peacekeeper with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2019 is being awarded the prestigious “United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the year Award”.
About Major Suman Gawani:
- Major Suman served as a Military observer in UNMISS from November 2018 to December 2019.
- She was the principal focal point of contact for gender issues for Military Observers in the mission.
- She encouraged participation in joint military patrols to maintain gender balance, irrespective of the hardships under extreme field conditions.
- She visited various mission team sites across South Sudan to integrate gender perspective into the planning and military activity in the mission.
- The officer was selected to attend the specialised training on Conflict related Sexual violence (CRSV) at Nairobi and participated in various UN forums to demonstrate how a gender perspective can help in protecting civilians, especially from conflict related sexual violence.
- The officer also commanded the UN Peacekeepers Day Parade organised at UNMISS, where she commanded twelve contingents of UNPOL, Military and Civilians.
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers:
Every year on 29 May, the United Nations commemorates the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
- The objective is to pay tribute to the invaluable contribution by the uniformed and civilian personnel and to honour more than 3,800 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while rendering peacekeeping services.
More about the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers:
- The General Assembly, in its resolution 57/129, designated 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
- This is the date when in 1948 the first UN peacekeeping mission, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, or UNTSO, began operations in the Middle East.
- This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR1325).
- The theme for Peacekeepers’ Day 2020 is “Women in Peacekeeping – A Key to Peace.” Women peacekeepers are essential for promoting sustainable peace and help in improving overall peacekeeping performance.
- UN peacekeeping has helped countries move from war to peace. At present, India contributes about 6,400 peacekeepers to various missions across the world.
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