Brazil to Expand the Female Presence in Peace Operations

Brazil to Expand the Female Presence in Peace Operations

By Dialogo
January 12, 2012

The Brazilian Ministry of Defense and the United Nations Agency for Women (UN Women) have signed a letter of intent with the objective of expanding the female presence in peace operations.

The document, the first of its kind to be signed by the international organization, was signed by Minister Celso Amorim and United Nations Under-Secretary-General Michelle Bachelet, the agency’s executive director, during a visit to the Sérgio Vieira de Mello Brazilian Joint Peace Operations Center (CCOPAB), at Vila Militar in Rio de Janeiro.

Bachelet emphasized the need to expand the female vision of the missions carried out by the United Nations in areas of conflict. “We have to consider that women are an important part of peace building, an area in which we will continue to engage in dialogue, and the letter of intent signed by UN Women and the Brazilian Ministry of Defense seeks to include a gender perspective on this subject.”

The letter of intent, according to the UN Women under-secretary, goes beyond the recognition of Brazil’s role in peace missions. “It is evidence of the Defense Ministry’s willingness to expand women’s participation,” she concluded.

The Brazilian minister acknowledged that there is a long way to go on gender issues in Brazil. “I believe that it’s important to keep this issue in mind during peace operations. Women really carry a different message, as proven by anthropological studies. I could see it firsthand in Haiti, where there is a strong presence of female doctors.”

Celso Amorim made a point of emphasizing his ministry’s commitment to human rights. He recalled that starting next year, there will be instruction on this subject at CCOPAB. In 2013, the subject will be included in the curriculum of the Armed Forces academies. Currently, work is underway on the content to be included in the program, which will be the same in all military educational facilities.