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Liberia: New Batch Of Female Indian Police Officer

Liberia: UN envoy welcomes new batch of female Indian police officers

8 February 2008 - United Nations envoy Ellen Margrethe Løj has welcomed a new group of female Indian police officers to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia, highlighting the impact of their presence on the women of the West African nation which is seeking to rebuild after a devastating 14-year civil war.

The newly-arrived team replaces the first all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU) from India, which returned home last month after serving for one year with the mission, known as UNMIL.

The presence of the all-female police unit in the country has inspired many women to join the Liberian National Police (LNP), observed Ms. Løj, who took up her post as the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of UNMIL in January.

"If anyone questioned the ability of women to do tough jobs, then those doubters have been [proven] wrong by the superb professional performance of the first batch of female Indian police peacekeepers in Liberia," she noted.

The new group's duties will include patrols, rapid response assignment, crowd and riot control support for the LNP and the protection of UNMIL staff and properties, among others.

The Special Representative also pointed out that FPUs are essential to help Liberia deal with possible civil unrest, such as violent demonstrations and communal tensions.

India is the third largest troop contributing country to the UN, with police and military peacekeepers deployed worldwide under the blue flag. UNMIL currently has nearly 15,000 uniformed personnel, including over 1,100 police officers.

ENDS

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