Brazil Increases Presence of Women in UN Peacekeeping Missions

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Brazil once more demonstrated its commitment to Women, Peace, and Security, exceeding the participation of women security officers in United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping missions in 2022, the Brazilian Ministry of Defense indicated in a statement.

“The deployment of Brazilian military women to occupy such positions indicates the alignment of the Ministry of Defense and of each of the forces with the U.N.’s gender parity strategy,” the Ministry of Defense told Diálogo. “The Navy, the Army, and the Brazilian Air Force have contributed with military men and women to the various positions made available by the United Nations, collaborating with the efficient peacekeeping effort worldwide,” the statement indicated.

Among the Brazilian women who stand out for their participation in U.N. peacekeeping missions is Lieutenant Colonel Luanda dos Santos Bastos, the first Brazilian Air Force female officer to serve as an administrative officer in a peacekeeping mission in the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in 2017, then in the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) in 2021.

There are also Brazilian Navy Captain Márcia Andrade Braga and Captain Carla Monteiro de Castro Araújo, recipients of the U.N. Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award for their work in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The CCOPAB carries out the Internship for Specific Preparation of Female Military Personnel for Peacekeeping Missions. (Photo: Brazilian Joint Center for Peace Operations)

“In MONUSCO, I served as a gender advisor in the Force Intervention Brigade in Beni, Congo. There I had the opportunity to have greater contact with the local population, especially women and children, and I was able, together with the Gender Focal Points Battalion, the Female Engagement Team, and the Gender Advisor of the civilian component, to carry out activities in favor of promoting the Women, Peace, and Security agenda, especially with regard to gender mainstreaming in the mission, prevention of conflict-related sexual violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, protection of children, and promotion of gender equality,” Lt. Col. Bastos told Diálogo.

Lt. Col. Bastos, who is currently serving at the Brazilian Joint Center for Peace Operations (CCOPAB), providing instruction for future peacekeepers and sharing her experiences from the two peacekeeping missions in which she participated, added that she felt “very honored for this opportunity and, mainly, for knowing that I contributed in some way to ‘show’ the way to several other women.”

“I can see that the U.N. has made a very big effort to increase the amount of women in operations. So, what I think we should work on now is with the troop contributing countries, because they need to invest in their national capability. They have to invest in their women, not only now in appointing them, but from the very beginning, from the time women join the armed forces, to give equal opportunities in their careers, invest in that qualification, and believe that they are going to do a good job here. Encourage your women to participate in peacekeeping missions, because we need them there,” Capt. Carla told UN News on June 9, 2020, when she received the U.N. award.

According to the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, Brazil participates in 11 of the 14 U.N. peacekeeping missions currently underway.

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