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Kingdom ranks 17th for number of women in UN peacekeeping forces

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Cambodian peacekeepers march at a send-off ceremony on January 19 last year. Heng Chivoan

Kingdom ranks 17th for number of women in UN peacekeeping forces

Cambodia ranks 17th out of 122 countries for the number of women sent on UN peacekeeping missions, the Ministry of National Defence announced on Friday, after the global body expressed gratitude to the Kingdom for its contribution.

On Thursday, the UN’s official Facebook page posted a message thanking the Kingdom’s military personnel for their “service and sacrifice”, alongside a photo of a smiling female Cambodian “blue helmet” in front of her peacekeeping comrades.

“Brave women and men from Cambodia leave their families behind and are #ServingForPeace with United Nations Peacekeeping missions around the world. We thank them for their service & sacrifice,” the UN post said.

The message had received 5,900 likes and been shared 6,300 times as of Sunday.

Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat told The Post that the UN had praised the Kingdom for the heroism of its female peacekeepers.

He said it showed that the government had encouraged the granting of the same rights for young women as for men in fulfilling their duties.

“So we see that this is a matter of pride for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces [RCAF] as well as the government and Cambodian people across the country – especially women, as the UN has singled out an outstanding female soldier for praise. It gives us great pride,” Socheat said.

Since 2006, Cambodia has sent 6,053 peacekeepers, including 285 women, to fulfil peacekeeping missions in countries including Central African Republic, Chad, Cyprus, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, South Sudan and Syria, the Ministry of National Defence says on its website.

Socheat said that Cambodia currently has 797 RCAF members – 54 of whom are women – deployed on UN missions in Mali, Central African Republic, Lebanon, South Sudan, Darfur in western Sudan, and Abyei – an area in Sudan accorded “special administrative status” in 2004.

“Cambodia has become the largest Asean contributor to peacekeeping forces on missions across the globe."

“Cambodia was ranked 29th for men and 17th for women out of 122 countries by the UN for sending its forces to join UN peacekeeping forces,” the Ministry of National Defence website states.

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