By Dialogo December 09, 2010 I am a officer police of the Militar Police of state Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, and would like to participate of the peacekeeping missions, I am sub-lieutenant and I am 47 years age, and would like to know the age limit for a brasilian component? Barrios Coloma: We don’t teach military skills. We train them to face crises with the premise they already have some military training. Barrios Coloma: Of our 18 missions, 12 have ended and six are ongoing. A total of 3,538 members of Peru’s armed forces have participated in peace missions. LIMA, Peru – The Joint Training Center for Peace Operations (CECOPAZ) was established in Peru in 2003 to train military and civilian personnel participating in peacekeeping missions. Naval Capt. Roberto Barrios Coloma, the director of CECOPAZ, recently sat down with Infosurhoy.com for an exclusive interview to discuss Peruvian peacekeeping contingents and their work worldwide. Barrios Coloma: There are 403 Peruvians deployed to six peacekeeping missions. The main contingent is in Haiti (366). We’re also in Sudan (19), Congo (7), Liberia (5), Ivory Coast (3) and Cyprus (3). We’re preparing to send to Haiti a contingent comprised of women. Infosurhoy.com: Is each branch of the military represented in peacekeeping missions? Infosurhoy.com: What is the role of Peruvian Blue Helmets deployed to a peacekeeping mission? Infosurhoy.com: What is the selection process? Infosurhoy.com: Have any Peruvian women participated in peacekeeping missions? Barrios Coloma: The level of tension they’re under calls for rotating these contingents every six months. The idea is for the personnel not to remain there forever, but instead to be always in rotation. Infosurhoy.com: How many missions have had Peruvian involvement? Infosurhoy.com: What is the required training? Infosurhoy.com: Is there a selection process to participate in these peacekeeping missions? Infosurhoy.com: What is the role of the civilians who take part in the missions? Barrios Coloma: From the military standpoint, the peacekeeping troops operate under the Force Commander, and their role is to provide security for the convoys. They are in charge of the refugee camps, as well as patrolling and maintaining checkpoints. In the case of observers, their task is to verify on the ground that a separation is maintained between two forces in conflict and to make sure there are no more confrontations. This job can be dangerous because they must move across fields containing landmines. Barrios Coloma: Unlike other countries, the peacekeeping missions are supported by all entities, be it with tangible means or with qualified personnel. For instance, the Peru Company in Haiti includes members of the navy, army and air force. Barrios Coloma: In the specific case of Haiti, for example, we figured that as an airborne company the participants needed to be skilled in parachuting and swimming. Generally speaking, to make the final selection for these peace missions you must pass a professional military background test, as well as a physical examination. The scores are made public immediately after the tests are completed. Infosurhoy.com: Where are your peacekeepers performing missions? Barrios Coloma: Peacekeepers must be vaccinated for all missions. In the particular case of cholera, the Peru Company in Haiti includes a doctor who oversees the health of all personnel. Also, those who’ve returned from Haiti have been quarantined and subjected to a series of tests, with none of them showing evidence of any potentially contagious diseases. Barrios Coloma: The benefit of participating as a peacekeeping soldier is that it strengthens the participant’s service record. He or she is able to improve his or her skills, with the understanding that it’s an honor to serve a people who need his or her help. They are also remunerated for their service, and the armed forces are compensated for incurred expenses, training and the use of equipment. Infosurhoy.com: Are there any benefits to the career of the participant, or are these peace missions taken by volunteers willing to serve their country? Infosurhoy.com: What are the requirements? Barrios Coloma: There is an age limit, which normally means you must be younger than 35. In the case of observers, they must be commanders or majors, or their equivalent, depending on the force. They also have to be proficient in English and be physically fit. Barrios Coloma: We are represented by two types of civilians. We train journalists so they can provide coverage as correspondents, taking into account security measures. And we train United Nations officials, who as part of their regulations must take security training. We are their support. Infosurhoy.com: What preventive measures are taken to protect peacekeepers? For instance, how have you dealt with the outbreak of cholera in Haiti? Infosurhoy.com: How long is deployment? Barrios Coloma: The Joint Training Center for Peace Operations comes up with a vacancy announcement. It’s then up to each force to devise its own procedures for selecting and evaluating [candidates] to reach the number of peacekeeping troops needed. On top of that, a list of potential candidates must be added, in case you need to replace anyone who fails the academic requirements. Barrios Coloma: A total of 11 women have taken part in the peace missions, with two active. One is with the Joint Chiefs for the Peru Company in Haiti. Her duties include observing and reporting within her area of responsibility. We also have a woman who is an observer in a mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.