Monday April 14, 2019 `By: Women of Egypt
On April 8, Lieutenant General Elias Rodriguez Filho, commander of the DRC peacekeeping force, honored Lieutenant Colonel Sherihan Aboul Khair Roushdy Mohamed by awarding her the United Nations (UN) Medal. The medal parade ceremony was held at the force headquarters in the town of Goma, located east of Congo.
The photo of the Egyptian Lieutenant Colonel went viral after it was first published on the Facebook page of the United Nations Mission in the DR Congo – Monusco. According to the United Nations Information Center in Cairo, she was among 51 military personnel from different countries at the ceremony.
Since Egypt first joined the UN peacekeeping operation in Congo in 1960, more than 30,000 Egyptian police and military have served in 38 peacekeeping missions in 24 countries around the world. Egypt is one of the top UN troop contributing countries. Egypt is currently deploying nearly 3200 men and women serve with the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Congo, Mali, Central African Republic and Darfour. Since Egypt first joined the mission, 41 Egyptians lost their lives serving the cause of peace.
The first Egyptian female Police Officer to serve with the UN Peacekeeping Forces was Brigadier Nahed Al-Wahy. Al-Wahy graduated from the Police Academy in 1988 and worked for the Passport and Immigration Affairs Authority for 25 years, after which she . worked for the unit to combat violence against women. She joined the U.N. Mission in 2014 when the Egyptian Police opened the doors for policewomen to join the Egyptian Peacekeepers.
She served in the headquarters of MINURSO (the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) where she headed the Egyptian police office. Her main tasks included protecting local women from sexual violence and providing assistance to the survivors of sexual violence, in compliance with United Nations standard for their missions in troubled areas.
Colonel Sahar Ibrahim Abdel Raouf served in the first Egyptian female unit that joined the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Darfour in 2016. Colonel Abdel Rauf graduated from the Police Academy in 1990 and advanced in her positions in the ministry of interior. She attended multiple training courses and special conventions on the settling of disputes and peacekeeping in Africa, in collaboration with the Organization of the Arab Women.
Despite the significant role female peacekeepers play in the communities they serve in, especially in the prevention of sexual violence during and after the conflicts; they only represent 4 percent of the total number of 80,000 U.N. peacekeeping officers. The U.N. is aspiring to increase the participation of women in the force as women officers are more likely and capable of gaining the trust of the community and to address women’s vulnerabilities and needs. The female peacekeeping officers also act as role models to young girls of these community. Their presence inspires them to pursue their dreams and aspire for gender equality.
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