The United Nations is calling for the recruitment of more women police officers to work in its 17 peacekeeping operations around the world. Andrew Hughes, the UN’s police advisor, said women officers are more effective in protecting and assisting female victims in what the organization called “the rampant use of sexual abuse as a weapon in armed conflict.” Women and children are more comfortable speaking with female officers, he said.
“The equal participation of female police officers at all levels of the United Nations empowers the female population in reporting cases of sexual and gender-based crimes,” said Ann-Marie Orler, the UN’s deputy police advisor. Women make up about 8 percent of the UN’s 11,000-strong peacekeeping force. Hughes said the organization hopes to increase the number of women to 20 percent in five years. He called on member nations who supply the peacekeepers to recruit more women for the work. Ten member countries, all in Asia or Africa, currently supply 60 percent of the women officers.