Brazil increased female participation in United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping missions to comply with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, which established the Women, Peace, and Security program, in 2000. Currently, six officers from the Armed Forces take part in one of the U.N.’s 13 missions.
Brazilian service members joined U.N. missions in 1992, during the United Nations Angola Verification Mission II. Since then, 246 female services members from the Armed Forces have participated in U.N. peacekeeping missions: 205 from the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese), 30 from the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese), and 11 from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese), in addition to 60 police officers, according to the Defense Communication Center (CCOMSOD, in Portuguese).
CCOMSOD indicated that there are four FAB female service members involved in peacekeeping missions: two in the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, one in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, and one in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO, in French). The MB has one female officer in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA, in French). Since March 29, 202, an EB female officer has been working in the European Union Training Mission in the Central African Republic.
One of these service members, MB Commander Nilza Barros da Silva, who has been working as a MINUSCA gender advisor since August 2020, reiterated the importance of female participation in peacekeeping missions, which increases trust between members of the local population. “During patrols, the women who live in these communities tend to feel more comfortable talking about sexual violence and abuse in the presence of other women,” she said.
Cmdr. Nilza manages five gender advisors in various sectors of the Central African Republic. Her duties include training female advisors and dozens of service members responsible for reporting violations of the rights of children and civilians, as well as cases of conflict-related violence, gender-based violence, and sexual exploitation and abuse.
Major Luanda dos Santos Bastos, FAB’s first woman to serve as an administrative official in a peacekeeping mission in 2017, will strengthen Brazil’s female participation in the U.N., as a gender advisor for MONUSCO. “It’s a very important role for the U.N., as it advocates for gender equality and works to prevent sexual abuse and rape in the MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade area, in the city of Beni, which is considered the mission’s most tense area,” she told FAB’s website.
Thanks to the participation of Brazilian female service members in U.N. missions, the country has received the U.N. Military Gender Advocate of the Year award twice, a recognition to service members who stood out as gender advocates in all missions. In 2019, MB Commander Marcia Andrade Braga was recognized for her work in MINUSCA. In May 2020, MB Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araújo was also recognized for her work in the same mission.