On 5 April 2019 a round table on the contribution of women to peace support operations was held in the Army Hall, Sarajevo, in cooperation with the Ministries of Security and Defence.
Female members of the Armed Forces of BiH and BiH Police Forces serve in peacekeeping missions abroad along with their male colleagues from different countries and make substantive contributions to peacekeeping operations worldwide. Female peacekeepers have access to population groups and venues that might be closed to men, thereby improving awareness regarding potential security risks.
Keynote addresses were delivered by Dragan Mektić, Minister of Security of BiH, Major General Martin Dorfer, Commander EUFOR, Brigadier General Mirsad Ahmic, General Inspector of the Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH) and Samra Filipović-Hadžiabdić, Directoress of the BiH Gender Agency. Afterwards, panels discussed women from AFBiH and female police officers from BiH participating in peace support operations. One of the panelists was Lieutenant Narida Gerber, a member of EUFOR Operation Althea.
The Ministries of Security and Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina invest significant efforts into increasing the number of female members of Police agencies and Armed Forces BiH deploying with BiH contingents to Peace Support Operations (PSO).
Commander EUFOR, Major General Martin Dorfer said: “As a commanding officer of a Peace Support Operation I firmly believe that women’s participation in security forces significantly contributes to dispute resolution. Female police and military officers provide diverse means towards de-escalation of tensions and building of trust with communities, thereby advancing stability and rule of law.”
UNSC Resolutions under the Women, Peace and Security umbrella remind that peace processes must be representative of the civilian population affected, and this means not only the presence of women at the negotiating table but adequate diversity within Peace Support Operations personnel. It is our job as military and security forces to ensure that we are aware of these issues and able to respond accordingly. At the same time, it is the obligation of commanders to ensure that women are closely involved in the decision-making process, that women are visible in Peace Support Missions and that their concerns are heard, reflected and acted upon.
Major General Dorfer concluded: “I believe that today’s event will make a tangible difference to the numbers of women contributing to Peace Support Operations; everyone’s individual contributions today are highly valued and crucial. We heavily rely on military and policewomen working side by side with men in order to achieve success and to ensure that heterogeneous members of a mission become one effective team in Peace Support Operations.”