Who is the first Brazilian woman in the UN mission in the Central African Republic

More than 400 police officers from various countries make up the UN Mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA. Almost a third of this number is made up of women. Only one of them is Brazilian. Darilene Monteiro, a corporal in the Pará military police, tries to help the country to rebuild one year after the signing of a peace agreement between the government and 14 armed groups.

“I work in district 8 in Bangui. We work with patrols in different communities, where we have the opportunity to talk to people, learn about their problems, their needs, their difficulties and we are there to offer this social support ”, says Darilene.

Darilene Monteiro. Image: Pará Military Police

For the official, gender issues are put aside when her work is done. “Women are able to carry out their work just as effectively as men. The female presence favors strategic actions in conflict prevention and less violent actions in conflict negotiations and in order to protect civilians ”, she reveals.

Darilene was summoned to the peace mission in December last year. In 2018 she participated in a rigorous selection in Rio de Janeiro, where the skills of vehicular driving, shooting and foreign language were evaluated – she has a degree in letters, with a qualification in French, the official language of the Central African Republic. Then, between April and June 2019, she underwent a preparatory internship.

In the Central African Republic, she lives in a condominium where her fellow UN mission agents reside. While working, she works to protect civilians and people most vulnerable to violence. Something similar to what he lived for 8 years working in the Battalion of Motorized Tactical Ostensive Rounds (Rotam).

On her days off, she connects with the family who stayed in Brazil: her 4-year-old son and her husband, also a police officer. “We talk every night by video call and I know how to deal with distance, as we always travel due to the missions of the units where we operate,’ ’he says.

Darilene with her MINUSCA colleagues

Darilene’s work on the UN mission does not end until January 2021. Another eight women from Brazil are expected to be summoned throughout this year. In total, 52 Brazilians were chosen to join the same mission.

Called blue helmets, the United Nations forces have protected civilians, supported and trained security forces in Central African lands since 2014. The participation of the UN team in the reconstruction of the country is strategic since the local people have been suffering with armed conflicts, political instability, hunger, and poverty for at least a decade. At the end of 2020, presidential and legislative elections will be held.

With information from the UN and Pará Military Police