Celebrating Senegal’s Major Seynabou Diouf, 2019 UN Female Police Officer of the Year
London, Nov. 24, 2019 (AltAfrica)- At the core of peacekeeping operations lies the notion of shared responsibility, the UN peacekeeping chief said while presenting this year’s award for Female Police Officer of the Year, to a woman who “has made a career of speaking up and speaking out on behalf of all vulnerable populations”.
Major Seynabou Diouf of the Senegal National Police has been honoured as the 2019 United Nations Female Police Officer of the Year.
Deployed with the UN Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, since March 2017, after serving in Darfur and Mali, UN Police Officer (UNPOL) Seynabou Diouf from Senegal, helps empower women and survivors of sexual violence across the region
A woman of many attributes, Police Major Seynabou Diouf has worked “tirelessly with her colleagues inside and outside the Mission to empower women, improve conduct, enhance protection, strengthen performance, and thereby build sustainable peace”, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Peace Operations chief, told the heads of UN police and police experts from 14 peacekeeping operations, gathered at the award ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York.
Major Diouf is one of over 1,400 female police officers serving under the UN flag, carrying out a complex range of tasks – from capacity-building and reform, to community-oriented policing, investigations, protection of civilians, and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence.
Major Diouf currently leads a task force that helps to prevent and end sexual exploitation and abuse with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) in Goma (North Kivu). She also leads the UN Police Women’s Network, which connects female officers for mentoring, training, professional development and mutual support.
The United Nations Female Police Officer of the Year award was established in 2011 to recognize exceptional contributions of female police officers to UN peacekeeping and to promote the empowerment of women.
In choosing Major Diouf, the selection committee commended her exemplary service, which has a direct and positive impact on the community and the Congolese national police.
“Through her work to support survivors of sexual violence through the UN Police Women’s Network in MONUSCO, along with her initiatives to strengthen community-oriented policing with the Congolese National Police, Major Diouf embodies the spirit of the award and the core values of the Organization,” said United Nations Police Adviser Luis Carrilho. “She is an inspiration to all of us.”
Going the extra mile
Top UN Police Adviser, Luis Carrilho, spoke about Major Diouf’s experience, noting that in her native Senegal she became the first female police officer to be honoured as a Gardien de la Paix, which was previously reserved for male officers.
“Since early in her career, she has shown her determination to make the extra effort, go the extra mile, to achieve her goals”, he spelled out, flagging that as the team leader of an SEA task force in Goma and president of the UNPOL Women’s Network, “she has demonstrated her commitment to giving women a voice and putting an end to SEA”.
“Her efforts have helped the mission to achieve zero SEA cases in 2018, compared to 140 cases between 2016 and 2017”, he attested, calling her “an incredible force for good in our ongoing efforts to root out SEA and ensure UN personnel at all levels perform to the highest standards”.
“It is a deep honour to receive the UN Female Police Officer of the Year award. It means a lot to me. Preventing sexual exploitation and abuse is a priority for me and my team and for my mission. And I believe that our efforts are paying off. For example, not a single allegation has been recorded against MONUSCO police this year. But we can always do more—even one allegation is one too many. We need to continue doing everything we can to ensure that this number remains at zero and victims of abuse receive the support they deserve,” said Major Diouf.
Major Diouf was selected out of 30 nominations from eight missions. Her previous UN experience includes deployments with the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), where she addressed misconduct and welfare issues. Her national experience spans 33 years with the Senegal National Police.
Nearly 10,000 UN police are deployed in peace operations, helping to enhance international peace and security by supporting Member-States in conflict, post-conflict and other crisis situations.
Currently, more than 1,400 female police officers serve in United Nations peace operations. The United Nations aims to deploy 30% women among individual police officers and 20% among formed police units by 2028.
Senegal is the largest contributor of police to UN peace operations and is among the top five contributors of female police officers.