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Indian Army Major Suman Gawani becomes the 1st Indian peacekeeper to receive UN Military Gender Advocate award 2019

Suman Gawani to be honoured with UN Gender Advocate AwardIndian Army officer and woman peacekeeper Suman Gawani who has served with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan(UNMISS) & Brazilian Naval Officer Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo have been selected for the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award(2019).

Suman Gawani becomes the 1st Indian peacekeeper to win the award. The award will be given during an online ceremony presided over by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on May 29, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Key Points

  • Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo is the second Brazilian to receive this award.
  • This is the 1st time 2 different peacekeepers will receive the award.

Suman Gawani 

i.Gawani joined the Indian Army in 2011 where she graduated from the Officers Training Academy, then joined the Army Signal Corps. She hails from Pokhar village in Tehri Garwhal. 

ii.From the beginning of her deployment to the UNMISS ( UN Mission in South Sudan)  in December 2018, she mentored over 230 UN Military Observers (UNMO) on conflict-related sexual violence and ensured the presence of women military observers in each of the mission’s team sites.

iii.She also trained South Sudanese government forces and helped them to launch their action plan on conflict-related sexual violence.

Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo 

i.Monteiro De Castro Araujo joined the Brazilian Navy Health Corps in 1997 & graduated from Staff College in 2012.

ii.She serves as the military Gender and Protection Advisor in the UN Mission in the Central African Republic(MINUSCA).

iii.During her duty she has conducted training on gender and protection, and helped to increase the number of gender-responsive patrols involved with local communities from 574 to nearly 3,000 per month.

Key Points

About 6.4% of the 85,000 uniformed peacekeepers serving currently in the UN missions are women. The UN is working with member states to increase the number and percentage of women military, police and justice and corrections personnel.

About the award:

In 2016 the 1st award was given & the selection process for recipients  began in 2015 

i.The award is underpinned by the principles outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolution(UNSCR) 1325 and follow-on resolutions on women, peace and security. 

ii.The Resolution provides three provisions, called the “3 Ps.” namely,  Prevention of conflict and Protection of women and their rights during and after conflict & Participation which refers to increasing the numbers of women in all mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict.

Purpose of the award– It will help raise the profile and understanding of what mainstreaming a gender perspective, within a military context, means for UN Peacekeeping missions.

Recipients of the award

2016– Captain Aichatou Ousmane Issaka from Niger for her service with UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali(MINUSMA)

2017– Major Seitebatso Pearl Block from South Africa for her service with  United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo(MONUSCO)

2018– Lieutenant Commander Marcia Andrade Braga from Brazil for her service with MINUSCA