News: Paraguayan peacekeeper trains to protect human rights
Story by Sgt. Cory Grogan
PANCHKHAL, Nepal - Capt. Victor Para, of the Paraguayan Army, traveled far to get to Nepal for a peacekeeping training exercise called Shanti Prayas-2, but said he isn’t complaining because the value he will get from the United Nations peacekeeping training is tremendous.
“We share many experiences among those of us who have been on missions,” Para said. “These missions do not have the same principles as military [combat] training, and we have to use a lot of common sense to manage humanitarian rights.”
Para is an instructor for his platoon from Paraguay at the multinational Global Peace Operations Initiative exercise hosted by the Nepalese Army in Panchkhal, March 25 to April 7. The exercise is designed to train partner nations to provide effective personnel for deployment on UN peacekeeping missions.
The Global Peace Operations Initiative works by increasing the number of capable military troops and formed police units available for deployment and facilitating the preparation, logistical support, and deployment of military units and formed police units to peace support operations.
The field training portion of the exercise has 11 platoons from 11 nations working to reinforce and improve tactical, multinational interoperability. Countries with platoons represented in the field training are Nepal (with two platoons), Bangladesh, Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia, Jordan (with a squad of soldiers from Kazakhstan embedded in the Jordanian unit), Mongolia, Philippines, Rwanda and Paraguay.
Participants receive training on how to conduct cordon and search operations, operate a checkpoint, conduct convoy escort missions, protection of a UN designated site, protection of a humanitarian distribution point, and how to conduct dismounted patrols.
Para said he has been on a peacekeeping mission to Haiti and that the experience affected him in a very profound way.
“From Haiti, I realized we have to learn more every day because the challenges are different in each situation,” he said.
Para mentioned how the terrain is a huge factor because at the Birendra Peace Operations Center in Nepal, where the exercise is located, the rugged hills present transportation issues he never faced in Haiti.
“There will not be any alternative routes here and we will still have to get the mission done, so here is a chance to do that with practical training,” he said.
Para said he is very excited and motivated for the training, “This is peacekeeping and we will learn how to manage different situations and learn from different people.”