Indian Army Major to receive UN Military Gender Advocate award

New Delhi (NVI): Major Suman Gawani from the Indian Army, a former UN peacekeeper in South Sudan, will be honoured with the 2019 UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award.

Major Gawani will be the first Indian peacekeeper to get the prestigious award.

She will receive the award along with Brazilian Naval Officer, Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo during an online ceremony presided over by UN Chief António Guterres on May 29, which is marked as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Gawani, an Indian Army officer and a UN military observer, was formerly deployed with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Created in 2016, the United Nations “Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award” recognises the dedication and effort of an individual military peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in a peace operation context.

However, this will also be the first time that two peacekeepers will receive the award jointly for their contribution to the cause.

During her deployment in South Sudan, Major Goswami mentored over 230 UN Military Observers (UNMO) on conflict-related sexual violence and ensured the presence of women military observers in each of the Mission’s team sites.

She also trained the South Sudanese government forces and helped them to launch their action plan on conflict-related sexual violence.

Apart from this, five Indian peacekeepers, who laid down their lives serving in UN peacekeeping missions in 2018-19 will also be honored this week with a UN medal awarded posthumously for courage & sacrifice in the line of duty.

Major Ravi Inder Singh Sandhu and Sergeant Lal Manotra Tarsem, who served with the UN Mission in South Sudan; Sergeant Ramesh Singh with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon; Private Johnsion Beck with the UN Disengagement Observer Force and Edward Agapito Pinto, who served in a civilian capacity with the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in Congo, will posthumously receive the Dag Hammarskjold Medal on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers observed on May 29.

In observance of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, on Friday, Secretary-General António Guterres will lay a wreath to pay tribute to all the UN blue helmets who have lost their lives since 1948. 

The theme for this year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers (May 29) is “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace” to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.