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Women join Ivory Coast peacekeepers

Dec. 17, 2012 at 10:41 AM

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A group of 15 policewomen became the first all-women team to deploy with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast, a police adviser said.

The Rwandan security team is the first contingent of women to deploy with the U.N. mission in Ivory Coast since it was formed in 2004. Ann-Marie Orler, the police adviser for the United Nations, told the U.N. News Center the goal was to have women make up 20 percent of all peace missions by 2014.

"We are only halfway there globally and in Ivory Coast but more deployments like this will make it possible," she said.

The U.N. mission to Ivory Coast was formed to help the country recover from a civil war that divided the nation along rebel lines in 2002. Disputed presidential elections in 2010 meant to unite the country pushed Ivory Coast again to the brink of war.

A November report from the United Nations suggested the government was able to extend its authority into territory held formerly by rebels. Recently U.N. Security Council briefings, however, described the situation there as tense.

The International Criminal Court last week confirmed it had the jurisdiction to put former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo on trial for war crimes allegedly committed during post-election violence.

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