MINURSOUnited Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara

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04:36:06, Sunday, 23 Jul 2017


UN resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and security (2000) recognized the fundamental role of women in the areas of peace security and development. This role has been especially concretized in the UN peace keeping missions where women civilian and uniformed personnel are playing an important role in preventing conflict, promoting peace and assisting in post-conflict reconstruction within UN peacekeeping operations.



Status of women in MINURSO


MINURSO’s mandate:

  • UN Resolution 690 (1991) mandated MINURSO to conduct, during a transitional period, a Referendum in the territory, to enable the people of the Western Sahara to choose freely without administrative or military constraints, between independence and integration with Morocco.




Since 1991 until today, no UN Resolution or Secretary General report had mentioned any role or involvement of women in the promotion of peace and security in the Western Sahara’s political process.


At the mission level, MINURSO is not an exception to gender unbalance:

  1. Out of the 252 civilian national and international staff members currently working for the mission 52 are female:
  2. In the entire mission compared to 11 professional male staff members there are only 5 women at the professional levels at P4 level
  3. Regarding the national staff there are 32 female and 139 male.

Uniformed Personnel

The need to enhance gender balance among MINURSO UNMOs is imperative in Western Sahara traditional environment. The presence of female UNPOLs is very welcomed by the local saharaoui population during the patrols and family visits.

During their patrols UNMOS are also expected meeting local nomadic population. The presence of female UNMOs in MINURSO patrols will give this isolated population more confidence.



Gender among Uniformed personnel in MINURSO.

  • The total number of the Military Observers serving within the mission is 225. Only 2 female UNMOs are currently deployed to serve in MINURSO;
  • The total number of the personnel of the Malaysian Medical Unit currently serving with the mission is 20, six of them are female.
  • 3 of the 6 UN-Police deployed for the Confidence Building Measures (CBM) are female.