Serving for Italy in UNFICYP, police officer Pamela Caracciolo calls for more women in peacekeeping

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CYPRUS, MAY 13 – A photo of UNFICYP police Officer Pamela Caracciolo is the testimonial for an appeal to increase the number of women in peacekeeping. Maresciallo Caracciolo, an Italian ‘blu helmet’ in Cyprus, is featured on the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus’ Facebook page calling on UNPOL-contributing countries to increase the deployment of female officers in UN missions around the globe. The post was published ahead of the International Day of Peacekeeping which will be celebrated on May 29.

Caracciolo, 36, is not at her first UN peace mission abroad: she has been deployed several times by the Carabinieri to field operations; twice in Hebron, West Bank, and to Baghdad, Iraq. Additionally, she have also been deployed twice to Libya for the humanitarian transport of refugees and children suffering from serious diseases.

Headquartered in Nicosia, UNFICYP is short for United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. The mission was originally set up by the Security Council in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. After the hostilities of 1974, the Council has mandated the Force to perform certain additional functions.

In the absence of a political settlement to the Cyprus problem, UNFICYP has remained on the island to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone, undertake humanitarian activities and support the good offices mission of the Secretary-General. Caracciolo is one of four police officers from Italy serving with UNFICYP over a total of 63.

“The most significant aspect of my job is mediate and build trust between diverse groups of people. As a peacekeeper, it is vital that respecting the local culture also goes hand in hand with not expressing insensitive attitudes that can damage the trust of local populations”, she said in a short essay published on Medium as part of its May campaign highlighting women in peacekeeping: “We must not forget that any mission is still a foreign element in the country, even if inhabitants are familiar with our presence and recognise it as an integral part of their everyday life. Acting or behaving in an inappropriate way does not mean creating harm to oneself but to the entire mission of which one is a temporary member, causing serious difficulties to the normal trajectory of work and the safety at risk of everyone involved”.(@OnuItalia)