Perfectly gender balanced Rwandan Formed Police Unit arrives in Juba
On Wednesday the United Nations Mission in South Sudan welcomed 144 Rwandan police officers to Juba. They make up the lion part of a Formed Police Unit from the neigbouring country, consisting of 80 men and 80 women, joining an advanced party already deployed.
“Their arrival today is a signal to women not only in South Sudan but across the world that women are capable of doing anything when given the opportunity,” says Teddy Ruyenzi, Commander of the Juba-based Rwandan Formed Police Unit (FPU) and with previous peacekeeping experience from Haiti and Mali.
One of the new arrivals, Inspector Police Speciose Dusabe, also stresses the importance of having a significant number of female police officers in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
“Children and women are vulnerable groups and normally the ones most affected by conflicts. They will feel more comfortable interacting and sharing information with women police,” she says. After a spell in Darfur, South Sudan is her second stint working abroad.
Inspector Police Dusabe and her colleagues were selected by the Rwandan police authorities for UN peacekeeping based on their experience and skills. The chosen ones then underwent about six months of pre-deployment training and had to pass a number of exams before confirming their seats on a Juba-bound flight.
For Bosco Byagatonda, also an Inspector Police, South Sudan represents his first peacekeeping mission, and he is determined to make the most of it.
“I am here partly to gain experience, and to learn how police officers from South Sudan and other countries do their work,” he says, adding that he hopes to repay the faith placed in him by contributing to achieve durable peace and the mandate of UNMISS.
The Rwandan Formed Police Unit will be based in Juba but may be deployed elsewhere in the country if and when needed. In the capital, its members will work in the peacekeeping mission’s protection sites for displaced persons seeking shelter but also, by means of confidence building city patrols together with other UN police officers, protect civilians in other places.
In line with the current mandate of the Mission, reviewed in March this year, UN police officers are expected to provide their South Sudanese police counterparts with technical assistance and advice as well.