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Justice officer from DR Congo mission Major Ahlem Bouzi wins UN Trailblazer award
Major Ahlem Bouzi
Photo Caption: UN Photo/Mark Garten

Justice officer from DR Congo mission Major Ahlem Bouzi wins UN Trailblazer award

| @indiablooms | 08 May 2024, 06:12 pm

The UN’s second Trailblazer award for Women Justice and Corrections Officers has gone to Major Ahlem Bouzi, an officer with the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

First awarded in 2022, it acknowledges the exceptional contributions made by women justice and corrections officers serving from Member States across the world, who challenge gender stereotypes and barriers.

In an interview with UN News, Major Bouzi said she was deeply honoured and grateful to have been recognized for her efforts.

“First of all, it means a lot to me and to my country, Tunisia. And also it encourages me to continue what I have started and to aspire for greater responsibility and more achievement,” she said.

Combating stereotypes

Maj. Abouzi received her award on Tuesday at the UN Secretariat in New York.

In a video played following the ceremony, she said being a trailblazer means having the “courage and desire to pave the way for women in order to eliminate the systematic and persistent obstacles such as stereotypes and gender discrimination that prevent women from fully participating on an equal footing with men in a significant way to peace operations.”

When speaking to UN News, she detailed her daily commitments which include contributing to expanding support to authorities through “cutting-edge” technical expertise for investigations and fighting against impunity in attacks against UN peacekeepers, such as a recent incident in North Kivu.

She said she is the only woman working with the Justice Support section in regional capital Goma and in the military justice field - which comes with its own challenges.

“But I find it's good to try to break down the gender barriers” Maj. Bouzi said, and to “embrace challenges and to show that women are capable to work as equally with men.”

Further, she said, women make up half of our society and we can only achieve sustainable peace if women are included in all fields.

Advocating for women’s inclusion

Major Bouzi said she is most proud of being the first armaments and ammunition expert working in the Prosecution Support Cell of her section and being the only female expert working with the Congolese military authorities.

She said she is not just an award recipient but a fervent advocate for women peacekeepers who continually make vital contributions in secondary roles.

“I want them to strive to make meaningful contributions for sustainable peace, but also, in the decision-making positions and operations,” Maj. Bouzi said, adding that she encourages all of them to be role models for women in the future.

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