Uruguay and the United States Increase Security in Peacekeeping Missions
By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo December 02, 2016Soy enfermera hace 22 aÃ±os y estoy interesada en participar en misiÃ³n de paz en el Congo. SÃ³lo que no se que pasos debo seguir para llegar a donde hay que incrivirse o notificar de mi interÃ©s. TendrÃ© una respuesta. Muchas Gracias.
05/12/2016 Uruguay’s National School for Peacekeeping Operations (ENOPU per its Spanish acronym), in coordination with the U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), trained Uruguayan troops to identify threats to civilians in complex peacekeeping situations. The course, entitled “Identifying Threats in Peacekeeping Environments,” was developed by NRL and is part of the Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative (GPOI). The course was held from November 14th-18th at ENOPU in Montevideo. According to the U.S. Department of State website, GPOI is a program run by the U.S. Department of State to train partner nations to effectively conduct both regional and UN peacekeeping operations. For one week, eight Uruguayan instructors trained by NRL human behavior experts taught 25 members of the Uruguayan Army skills they will need when they are deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of the Reserve Battalion of the Uruguay Battalion. “The objective was to study the behavior of individuals outside of the security forces in order to quickly detect those (behaviors) that could indicate an imminent threat to personnel deployed on peacekeeping missions. This allows troops to act and thus properly protect themselves and any civilians present,” explained Lieutenant Sebastián Sosa, the course coordinator, to Diálogo. “The observation stage stood out to me because of how applicable it is. These tools are going to improve our ability to detect suspicious individuals, should the need arise,” said Captain Fernando Machado, a participant in the course. The course ended with a series of practical exercises, demonstrations, and events based on complex and dangerous scenarios where various techniques were applied. The practical exercises were held at the General Eugenio Garzón Infantry Brigade No. 1. “The participants are part of the first group to be trained by Uruguayan instructors in this course,” Colonel Niver Pereira, director of the ENOPU, told Diálogo. The same training course was taught in 2015 by U.S. personnel in Uruguay. “Now, Uruguay can train all of its own Armed Forces independently before they leave on peacekeeping missions,” stated Col. Niver. “A total of 180 members of the military, mostly from the Army, were trained and certified at the ENOPU,” added Lt. Sosa. Each participant received a certificate from the NRL and ENOPU. These graduates will share their knowledge and experience with approximately 800 officers heading to the Congo. The military companies will be mobilized in April and May of 2017. “This course is the result of the United States’ broad experience in armed conflicts combined with Uruguay’s ample experience with these types of missions in different countries around the world,” explained Lt. Sosa. By working together, “we are able to focus on better preparing our troops. One of our efforts focuses on keeping our personnel safe and protecting civilians, which is a priority during peacekeeping missions,” said Col. Niver. Fifteen hundred troops from the Uruguayan Army, Navy, and Air Force participate in these types of operations. “These UN operations require much more intense preparation because the threats are more dangerous. There are terrorist groups all over the world,” remarked Col. Niver. One battalion was sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2000, and another was sent to the Republic of Haiti in 2004. Together with the troops stationed on the Sinai Peninsula, this “contribution of human capital represented a major achievement for a nation of only 3.5 million inhabitants,” according to the ENOPU website. Uruguay has personnel on the ground in the Ivory Coast, India, and Pakistan. Since 1995, ENOPU has trained 45,000 troops to be deployed internationally and complete the missions assigned to them in a safer and more efficient way. “Our chief strength lies in our people. We have a staff of 278 instructors split up into different departments, all with solid experience in the field," said Col. Niver. Uruguayan officers in peacekeeping missions are also trained in disarmament, mobilization and reintegration; intelligence for peacekeeping missions; VIP protection; United Nations logistics; civilian protection; UN contingents and the protection of children during armed conflicts; women in peacekeeping operations; civilian-military coordination, and special engineer transport units. “Uruguay also works closely with Mexico and Colombia, which want to send troops and participate in UN operations,” said Col. Niver. “Our challenge is to continue to occupy a privileged position in peacekeeping missions.”