As part of one of the most challenging peacekeeping missions — MONUSCO — in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a women’s team from the Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) has been co-deployed with the 16 Sikh battalion contingent. The ICRC recently held a pre-deployment briefing session on international humanitarian law for them.

The peacekeepers were briefed about the ICRC’s work on protection of civilians in armed conflict. They learned about the activities carried out by the organisation in the DRC and about its engagement with peacekeepers on ground. The session also sensitised the team about sexual violence and how the ICRC responds to the issue.

The 22-member women’s team — comprising two officers, four sub-inspectors and 16 constables — is the ‘Female Engagement Team’ and is placed under the 16 Sikh battalion contingent of the Indian Army. This is the first time they have been nominated as a Rapid Deployment Battalion (RDB). The RDB will act on short notice as a quick reaction team to take care of any sudden eruption of violence or group clashes affecting civilians. The women peacekeepers will engage and provide all possible assistance to women and children affected by conflict in the deployment area.