The head of the National Centre for the UN Peacekeeping Forces of Cambodia said the rotating force will temporarily suspend deployment due to the coronavirus until new UN regulations go into effect at the end of June.
The centre’s deputy director-general and spokeswoman Kosal Malinda told The Post on Sunday that rotation of peacekeepers takes place regularly as part of the UN’s annual plan.
But for this year, the mandate for the shift of the peacekeeping force has been temporarily suspended to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
“At the same time, Cambodian Blue Helmets on overseas missions have also been instructed to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” she said.
Malinda said the Cambodian force currently serving under the UN is made up of 787 soldiers, including 76 women. They are divided into five divisions covering the Republic of South Sudan, Lebanon, Central Africa, and Mali, which has two units – an engineering and a bomb unit.
“The Cambodian Blue Helmets force is well-disciplined and we consistently practice good hygiene following WHO guidelines. No Cambodian Blue Helmets has been reported as a Covid-19 case” she confirmed.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres notified member countries on March 27 to control the rotation to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
He said the rotation of the army from a host country to overseas during the global epidemic was “very challenging”, so the UN decided to suspend it temporarily.
“Criteria are being established to determine when current changes will be made. We are in close discussions with the host countries, and those that contribute to the army and the police force to overcome the difficulties that exist today.” Guterres said.
Despite UN peacekeeping forces adapting to the challenges posed by the coronavirus, they continue to carry out their key peacekeeping and security duties, while at the same time helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19.