Argentina sent off a new contingent of blue helmets that left for Cyprus as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
“We have a specific task in this peacekeeping mission, that of acting as a peacekeeping force between two sectors to avoid incidents and the resumption of hostilities,” Argentina’s Defense Minister Jorge Taiana said before the contingent that departed on January 19. “We are going [to Cyprus] mainly to demonstrate the commitment of the Argentine Republic to the multilateral system of the United Nations.”
The contingent is made up of 222 men and women from the Armed Forces, of which 189 correspond to Task Force 61 (134 from the Army, 49 from the Navy, five from the Air Force, and one deputy chief of contingent), the Ministry of Defense indicated in a statement. In addition, there are 26 troops corresponding to the Air Unit (called UNFLIGHT 59) and seven military observers and liaison officers.
“Argentina is the second country to contribute the second largest number of blue helmets troops to the United Nations forces supporting this mission,” the Argentine Ministry of Defense said.
“Beyond contributing to peace, an indivisible global value, for the military every PKO [Peacekeeping Operation] is an invaluable opportunity to apply their knowledge and expertise in practice and in real scenarios with unpredictable crisis situations and unexpected contingency challenges,” Juan Belikow, professor of International Relations at the University of Buenos Aires, told Diálogo. For Belikow peacekeeping missions increasingly respond to intra-state conflicts, between domestic actors who resort to violence to resolve their differences and disputes.
“[This is] a scenario that increasingly presents itself as one that requires the military instrument, historically prepared to deal with inter-state conflicts,” Belikow said. New conflict scenarios are increasingly urban, and interoperability with non-military and even nongovernmental agencies is an increasingly necessary activity, especially in the framework of hybrid and irregular warfare, Belikow added. “Consequently, the experience and knowledge gained in peacekeeping missions is fundamentally and critically important to the future of the military endeavor and profession.”
Increasing female representation in peacekeeping operations is essential, the United Nations maintains. Military women improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping, have greater access to communities, contribute to the promotion of human rights and the protection of civilians, and serve as role models for women and girls to stand up for their own rights.
According to Women in Security, an organization dedicated to promoting the professional development of women in the fields of peace and international security, Argentina has demonstrated its strong commitment to the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda.
“The personnel to be deployed [in Cyprus] is made up of more than 10 percent of women integrated in all roles required by the United Nations,” the Argentine Ministry of Defense indicated.
The Argentine military women act both as members of the senior staff advising the head of the Argentine Task Force (FTA) and in the field, where they carry out patrols, operate special equipment and vehicles, or conduct observation missions to opposing forces, the Argentine Ministry of Defense added.
“The FTA fulfills the mission of controlling the assigned sector to prevent further clashes, so it occupies a buffer zone to monitor the ceasefire lines, develop humanitarian activities, and support the rest of the mission,” the Argentine Ministry of Defense added.