Nepali peacekeepers awarded UN medals for efforts in CAR stability
The service of Nepalese men and women has, for over six decades, been part of the bedrock of UN peacekeeping. In the Central African Republic (CAR), Nepali peacekeepers have played a key role in MINUSCA’s efforts in the pursuit of stability, security and peace in the country – they received UN medals for their service at a ceremony held at M’poko Transit Camp in Bangui on 21 February 2020.
The medal parade coincided with the marking of the Nepal Army Day – providing an opportunity to celebrate both the medal recipients from the 5th Nepalese Force Military Police Unit and country’s rich peacekeeping history.
The 120-troop unit – comprising of 102 males and 18 females – has helped maintain public order, manned check points to ensure compliance with traffic rules and regulations, conducted 24-hour sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) prevention patrols and investigations on SEA allegations, monitored the observance of curfew hours, worked to prevent the smuggling of contraband items during troop rotations, participated in water distribution programs as well as secured strategic national sites.
“We know that the tasks of UN peacekeepers are demanding, but we also know that they are some of the most courageous and rewarding acts of valor. I therefore commend the peacekeepers that we are honoring today, who have shown admirable dedication in implementing the UN mandate in the Central African Republic,” said the MINUSCA DSRSG Lizbeth Cullity while presiding over the ceremony.
Unit commander Lieutenant Colonel Bhes Bahadur described Nepal as a dependable and enduring partner in UN peacekeeping operations: “Nepal has never let a UN peacekeeping call go unanswered, even at the shortest of calls – we have shown flexibility for inter-mission relocation of troops, deployed our troops in the most complex missions in terms of safety and security and have been fulfilling our commitments even during periods of internal conflict at home.”
In her remarks, Lizbeth Cullity especially commended the peacekeepers for their dedication in enforcing the Secretary General’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse in CAR. “Zero tolerance on SEA is at the core of our legitimacy and credibility as a peacekeeping mission and I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Nepal Force Military Police Unit for support in this priority area.”
Nepalese peacekeepers have been ubiquitous in UN peacekeeping since 1958 – covering over 40 missions – such as in Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Iraq and Mali – in which over 135,000 Nepalese personnel have participated. Over 70 Nepali peacekeepers have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Currently, the country has about 5,700 personnel serving in eleven peacekeeping operations, making the South Asian nation the fifth largest contributor to UN peacekeeping.
In the Central African Republic, Nepal is contributing with two distinct units: the Force Military Unit honoured at the M’poko medal ceremony and a battalion in Bambari, Ouaka prefecture, which is one of the most difficult operational theatres in the country.