After two years as the Force Commander United Nations Force in Cyprus, Major General Cheryl Pearce recently completed her tenure on 4 January 2021. Since January 2019, Pearce has commanded over 800 peacekeepers representing 15 nations, marking the first time the UN Force in Cyprus has been led by an all-female leadership team, with other key roles held by Canadian and Chinese personnel.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds congratulated Pearce for her contribution to global peacekeeping efforts. “Australia has a long and proud history of contributing to international peacekeeping and peace building efforts,” Reynolds said. “The involvement of women in peacekeeping operations, especially at senior levels, enhances the prospects of reaching sustainable peace. Over the past two years, Major General Pearce has led the UN Force in Cyprus during the conduct of peace and stability operations across the buffer zone, which is a product of the long-standing ceasefire arrangement that has been in place since 1974. I commend Major General Pearce on her efforts in fostering senior leadership dialogue with both Republic of Cyprus and Turkish forces on the island, and I wish her every success in the future.”
The United Nations Force in Cyprus was established by the UN Security Council in 1964 to prevent a recurrence of fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, and contribute to the maintenance of law and order. As a long-standing contributor to United Nations peacekeeping, Australia currently has a number of Australian Defence Force personnel serving in key peacekeeping roles overseas. Defence continues to work in advancing the Women Peace and Security agenda.