Bhutanese po­lice of­fi­cers in UN Peace­keep­ing for the first time

Bhutan Times - - Home - An­jana Subba

As part of Bhutan’s on­go­ing UN peace­keep­ing en­gage­ment, six of­fi­cers from the Royal Bhutan Po­lice will soon be leav­ing for a one year as­sign­ment at the UN Mis­sion in Liberia (UNMIL). This is the first time that po­lice of­fi­cers from Bhutan will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in a UN peace­keep­ing mis­sion un­der the UN Po­lice (UNPOL).

The of­fi­cers have all been se­lected based on their ex­pe­ri­ence and train­ing. They have also un­der­gone pre-se­lec­tion in­ter­view con­ducted by the UNPOL. The six po­lice peace­keep­ers are Lt. Col Pas­sang Dorji, Lt. Col. Dorji Khandu, Lt. Col. Jat­shola, Lt. Col. Wangchula, Lt. Col. Karma Sonam and Capt. Nono, who is also the first fe­male UN peace­keeper from Bhutan. As peace­keep­ing has evolved to en­com­pass a broader hu­man­i­tar­ian ap­proach, women have in­creas­ingly be­come part of the peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions. The Royal Gov­ern­ment re­mains com­mit­ted to grad­u­ally en­cour­ag­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of more women in peace­keep­ing mis­sions in pur­suance to UNSC res­o­lu­tion 1325 on women, peace and se­cu­rity.

In an au­di­ence to the six RBP Of­fi­cers, His Majesty The King said that Bhutan’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in UN peace­keep­ing is a mat­ter of na­tional pride. His Majesty said to the of­fi­cers that they must rep­re­sent the coun­try well by be­ing a model of ex­cel­lence, and con­duct them­selves with the high­est stan­dards of pro­fes­sional ethics.

Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay also met with the Of­fi­cers and con­grat­u­lated them for be­ing the first po­lice peace­keep­ers from Bhutan. Ly­onch- hen said that Bhutan has al­ways en­deav­ored to be a re­spon­si­ble and an ac­tive mem­ber of the United Na­tions, one that is com­mit­ted to the cause of in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity, and re­spect for the rule of law. There­fore, as a small coun­try and after 43 years of mem­ber­ship to the United Na­tions, Ly­onch­hen said that it is in­deed a proud mo­ment for the coun­try to be able to now con­trib­ute through di­rect en­gage­ment in UN peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions to the main­te­nance of in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity.

Po­lice per­son­nel tak­ing part in UN peace­keep­ing mis­sions pro­vide tech­ni­cal and op­er­a­tional support to the host state po­lice, as­sist­ing them to per­form core pub­lic or­der and law en­force­ment func­tions. They also con­trib­ute to the re­build­ing and strength­en­ing of the host state po­lice and law en­force­ment agen­cies on polic­ing func­tions, de­vel­op­ment of spe­cial­ist skills, and the train­ing of po­lice lead­ers. Po­lice were first used in a UN peace op­er­a­tion in 1960. To­day there are over 12,500 in­ter­na­tional po­lice per­son­nel from 89 coun­tries de­ployed to 16 UN peace­keep­ing mis­sions. As of 30 Septem­ber there were 4434 mil­i­tary per­son­nel, 104 mil­i­tary ob­servers and 1410 po­lice per­son­nel at UNMIL.

While there are no re­ports of any sus­pected or con­firmed Ebola cases among UN po­lice con­tin­gents in Liberia, the safety of the Bhutanese peace­keep­ers re­mains the fore­most pri­or­ity of the Gov­ern­ment. The peace­keep­ers have all been briefed and ad­vised to strictly ob­serve the UN is­sued Ebola preven­tion guide­lines and pro­to­col such as avoid­ing di­rect phys­i­cal con­tact with in­fected or de­ceased per­sons, wash­ing hands fre­quently with soap and wa­ter and other ba­sic pre­cau­tion­ary ac­tions. With the right pre­cau­tions the risk of be­ing af­fected is low as trans­mis­sion is only through di­rect phys­i­cal con­tact with a per­son who is ill or who has died. The Bhutanese peace­keep­ers are not ex­pected to come in con­tact with or in­ter­act with Ebola pa­tients. Upon their ar­rival at the mis­sion area the of­fi­cers will also be pro­vided with some train­ing in terms of how to en­gage and con­duct them­selves in the light of the Ebola epi­demic. They will also be is­sued with pro­tec­tive gear. On 19 Novem­ber the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion an­nounced that the num­ber of Ebola cases is no longer in­creas­ing in Guinea and

Liberia. The Ebola trans­mis­sion has also been suc­cess­fully halted in Nige­ria and Sene­gal.

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