To Be more Efficient on the Ground, the DIS Increases the Number of Women in its Ranks

9 Oct 2009

To Be more Efficient on the Ground, the DIS Increases the Number of Women in its Ranks

The Détachement intégré de Sécurité (DIS) is striving to become a force to be reckoned with. Within the framework of its mandate to protect refugees and IDPs in eastern Chad, the DIS has decided to increase the number of women in its ranks in order to become a modern, credible, and most of all efficient force on the ground.

In a press release published on 17 September 2009, the US Ambassador in Chad said about the DIS: "The Government of the United States hopes that the experience of the DIS vis à vis the struggle against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence will be appreciated by the other elements of the Chadian security forces and the police as a measure of performance and professionalism to be emulated."

In January 2008, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1778, MINURCAT selected a group of National Police and Gendarmerie officers as the starting point of the DIS. At that time, this security force had only one woman in its ranks. A year later, in January 2009, the number of women in the DIS reached 78 out of 745 elements. By September 2009, this number climbed to 87 women (out of 803). The presence of these women in the six DIS police stations in eastern Chad and in N'Djamena, is a follows:
- Abeche (18 women out of a DIS strength of 181 elements)
- Farchana (24/149)
- Goz Beida (14/136)
- Guereda (8/101)
- Iriba (11/119)
- Bahai (5/73)
- N'Djamena (7/44)

Chadian authorities and MINURCAT are determined to pursue these efforts.

A UNPOL team has just started training workshops in all DIS stations to build capacities on gender issues. In addition, the team is also conducting sensitization campaigns and advocating for the recruitment of 250 young women for the National Police, who may, in the long run, join the DIS.

However, the road ahead will be long as the selected candidates will undergo physical and written tests, and if successful, they will then join the National Police for a period of two years before coming to the DIS, following further training. A similar project will be carried out with the Gendarmerie.

In a socio-cultural environment based on ancestral values as is the case in eastern Chad, where women and men live separate lives, an increased number of women in the DIS can only be highly beneficial.

With the level of insecurity prevailing in eastern Chad, the female agents of the DIS will have a very important role to play in the camps where the majority of refugees and IDPs is made of women and children. In the current cultural context, these DIS women will have a great advantage over men as they are more readily accepted by the refugee and IDP women. The DIS women will also be able to better understand the concerns of female refugees and IDPs, and to better include their demands in the overall DIS security plan.

In refugee camps, women are often victims of rape, physical and verbal violence, as well as other types of abuses and harassment, that they cannot easily talk about with men, or even in their presence. This is precisely where the presence of women in the DIS will be beneficial.