Nepalese police unit awarded UN medal for service in South Sudan

LIATILE PUTSOA, Nov 16: The Nepalese formed police unit has been awarded with United Nation medal for service in South Sudan.

The Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer, in awarding the medals, praised the contingent of 320 Nepali police officers – 180 based in the capital Juba and 140 based in Bor, in the Jonglei region, for “their commendable contribution to the Mission’s core mandate which is to protect civilians and to build durable peace in South Sudan.”

The UNMISS chief urged the peacekeepers to “wear the medals as proud and worthy ambassadors of Nepal and the United Nations.”  The contingent is preparing to return to Nepal in February 2018, after a year-long deployment working in difficult and stressful conditions away from family and friends.

Of the 320-strong Nepalese police force, 27 are women.

“The more women we have, particularly in these roles, the better we are able to communicate and work with the people of South Sudan,” said David Shearer. “Many of the people who are most affected are women and children and they respond very well, particularly to women police.”

The Nepalese Formed Police Unit has served and protected the people of South Sudan including the internally displaced who have sought refuge at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites next to UN bases in Juba and Bor.

David Shearer recognized the wide range of activities the unit has been involved in, which include public order management, supporting humanitarian efforts, and engagement in patrols in and around Juba city to ensure the safety and security of civilians. They have also provided security to VIP visitors, with the most recent and notable visit from the United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.

Speaking at the ceremony, UNMISS Police Commissioner, Bruce Munyambo, applauded the “dedicated, disciplined and loyal” FPU members who risked their lives to protect civilians, paying special tribute to those who sustained physical injury during the crisis in July 2016.

“Even in lesser numbers, you stood firm to protect others,” he said.

Nepal is the sixth largest Troop Contributing Country with over 5,100 uniformed personnel currently deployed in UN peacekeeping missions across the world. Nearly 2,000 currently serve in South Sudan.

The first group of Nepalese peacekeepers arrived in the conflict-affected country in January 2014 shortly after the outbreak of civil war in December 2013.

Since becoming a member of the United Nations in 1955, more than 100,000 Nepalese have served in peacekeeping missions around the world.

(This article is contributed by UNMISS.) Photos: UNMISS