In Juba, South Sudan, 183 Rwandan police peacekeepers serving under its mission in South Sudan, were on Monday awarded with medals of service excellence.
The decorated officers include 160, who constitute the Rwanda Formed Police Two (RWAFPU2) under the command of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Bosco Rangura deployed in the capital Juba; and 23 Individual Police Officers (IPOs) who work as advisers and mentors.
About 30 of all those decorated are female.
The medal parade was held at RWAFPU 2 Base Camp, and attended by UNMISS force commander, Lt. Gen. Frank M. Kamanzi, Police Commissioner, CP Bruce Munyambo and fellow police and military peacekeepers from other countries as well as UN staff.
It was also attended by the Rwandan Community in South Sudan and friends of Rwanda.
The UN service medal is in recognition of the dedication and sacrifice made by peacekeepers during their deployment in a foreign land for peacekeeping duties.
The UNMISS Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (Political), Moustapha Soumare, who presided over the medal parade, thanked the Government of Rwanda for its commitment to global UN work.
“Your contingent of 160 police officers has so far served in South Sudan for ten months. We salute you today for your hard work in support of the UN Mission in South Sudan, and thank you for your service,” Soumare said.
He commended them for their dedication and commitment in UNMISS, which he observed that it’s the “most challenging peacekeeping missions in the world.”
“Your efforts have been critical to the success of UNMISS, and you can be sure your work has had a positive effect on the lives of tens of thousands of South Sudanese. You have provided specific capability that has enabled a secure environment within the Juba and Protection of Civilians site,” he said.
He particularly lauded their professionalism in crowd control and management of protestors, rescuing and protecting humanitarian staff, high profile officials, and their community work within the Protection of Civilians sites.
“You have set an example for others to emulate and for that, you should be very proud,” Soumare said.
“It is with great pride and admiration that I would mention the efforts and contribution of the proud female members of the Rwanda contingent here today. I must emphasize the need for more Rwandan females to be deployed to UNMISS. No need to say that the role and contribution of female personnel is especially crucial in our context here in South Sudan, by making uniformed personnel more accessible to the most vulnerable civilians – girls, boys, women and the elderly.”
He further reminded them to continue to guard the UN stands especially the policy of zero tolerance against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
“It is our individual and collective responsibility, uniformed and civilians alike, to safeguard the intrinsic dignity of the people who we are here to support. As guests in this nation, we must respect our host in each and every one of our interactions, activities and tasks. We must always uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in our work,” he said.
ACP Rangira also thanked the UN for recognising their service.
“It has been 10 demanding months; it would not have been easier without support, encouragement and guidance of various stakeholders and we also dedicate these medals to all those who facilitated us,” ACP Rangira said.
He also took the opportunity to applaud the officers under his command for their hard work, diligence, discipline and commitment, and urged them to maintain the spirit even in the reminder of their mandate.