Blue Helmet trainings to prevent sexual violence

To prevent and respond to sexual violence in peacekeeping operations, Rwandan and South African military officers recently took part in a scenario-based training course.

“The power to stop even one woman or girl from being raped and take appropriate action when there is an incidence of sexual violence must be one of the most meaningful things that a peacekeeper can do,” said Clara Anyangwe, UN Women’s Deputy Representative in Rwanda, during her closing remarks to a two-day training course for peacekeepers. “Women and girls look up to peacekeepers for protection. It is not a privilege; it is their right.”

From 29-30 July at Pretoria’s Peace Mission Training Centre in South Africa and from 14-15 August at the Rwanda Peace Academy in Musanze, UN Women and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) trained 100 high-ranking military officers on how to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence in peacekeeping missions.

The course was part of the UN’s scenario-based training modules developed by UN Women and DPKO, which use context-setting video clips, photos and other audiovisual tools to set the scene for troops and officers and trigger discussion on sexual violence in armed conflict. The training course is based on actual situations and role-playing exercises that help the trainees think through the appropriate course of action when faced with an incident or threat of sexual violence.

Since April 2011, when UN Women and DPKO piloted these new modules in Bangladesh, more than 500 military officers have been trained in seven of the top UN troop-contributing countries, as well as in two multi-country regional trainings. Hundreds more have been trained in over a dozen other countries, as these trainings have been incorporated into courses on gender and peace operations and protection of civilians, as well as regular courses for contingent commanders and mission leadership.

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