More women officers are needed on the United Nations Police to make the organization more efficient and reach the entire population that they serve, a senior UN peacekeeping official told the Security Council on Tuesday.
Alexander Zuev, assistant secretary-general for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, made the case at an annual briefing of UN police commissioners, which focused on the work of UN missions in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti.
Zuev said that women police officers "can help to mentor and inspire future women police leaders, increase access to justice for women and children at risk, and improve information-gathering and analysis by building bridges to vulnerable groups".
He said that UN Police have increased their efforts to increase the participation of women, in line with initiatives including the UN secretary-general's gender-parity strategy, and have developed an action plan with specific targets for female police numbers in the field and at UN headquarters by December 2028.
Unaisi Lutu Vuniwaqa, police commissioner of the UN Mission in South Sudan, said that women police officers comprise 22 percent of the mission's police component, including 33 percent in professional police posts, and "the mission is developing its own gender strategies and action plans".
Transnational crime and police reform, and strengthening the rule of law also were covered in the briefing.
Zuev concluded with a reference to the UN secretary-general's Action for Peacekeeping reform initiative, which aims to "refocus peacekeeping on realistic expectations; make peacekeeping missions stronger and safer; and mobilize greater support for political solutions and for well-structured, well-equipped, well-trained forces".
He said that strategic reviews carried out in the past year will help the UN to strengthen the secretary-general's recommendations, a necessity if the UN Police are to fulfill their role in "not only keeping the peace, but creating the space for political dialogue and preventive diplomacy".
Ma Zhaoxu, China's permanent representative to the UN and president of the Security Council for this month, said after the meeting that it is important that UN Police "contribute to the full peace continuum".
Ma said UN Police officers "support effective, efficient, representative, responsive and accountable police services that serve and protect the population", and "UN Police build and support host-State police capacity to prevent and detect crime, protect life and property and maintain public order and safety, in adherence to the rule of law and international human rights norms."
Since 1990, 129 countries have sent police officers to serve in the UN Police. More than 11,000 UN police officers are deployed in 15 UN peace operations.