Indian peacekeeper wins prestigious UN award
An Indian peacekeeper, who recently completed her mission in South Sudan, and a Brazilian peacekeeper serving in the Central African Republic have been selected to receive the 2019 United Nations Military Defender of the Year award for gender equality.
Indian Army Major Suman Gawani, a military observer formerly deployed with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and Major Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo, a Brazilian Navy officer working in the Multidimensional Mission United Nations Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central Africa (MINUSCA) will receive the award during an online ceremony chaired by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, marking the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on May 29.
It is the first year that the prestigious prize has been awarded to an Indian peacekeeper and the second consecutive year that a Brazilian peacekeeper has won it, the United Nations Information Center in India said.
Established in 2016, the United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year award recognizes the dedication and efforts of a military peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and security in the context of a peace operation, as named by Chiefs and Force Commanders of Peace Operations. For the first time, two peacekeepers will jointly receive the award for their contribution to this important cause.
Major Gawani expressed his satisfaction at seeing his work as a UN military observer recognised. “Whatever our function, position or rank, it is our duty as peacekeepers to integrate a gender perspective into our daily work and make it our own,” she noted, “ in our interactions with our colleagues as well as with the communities”.
Since his deployment to UNMISS in December 2018, Major Gawani has mentored over 230 United Nations Military Observers (UNMOs) on conflict-related sexual violence and ensured the presence of female military observers at each of the team sites. the mission. By providing support, mentorship, advice and leadership, she has helped create an enabling environment for United Nations peacekeepers. She also trained South Sudanese government forces and helped them launch their action plan on conflict-related sexual violence.