First Azerbaijani woman peacekeeper deployed

Azerbaijan UN/X: Major Latifa Rustomova
December 6, 2023

Major Latifa Rustamova will be the first Azerbaijani woman to be deployed as a military observer in a peacekeeping mission. Rustamova is set to join the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) where she will take part in fieldwork, reporting, coordination, and information analysis.

The major first graduated military school in 2004, and began serving as an officer in 2008. Rustamova quickly moved up to the position of staff officer, and specialised in infantry.

“When I heard the news that I had been selected to serve with UNMISS, it felt surreal. I was excited but I also knew that it was a tremendous responsibility. I was the first woman from my country to wear a Blue Helmet and serve in a UN Peacekeeping mission. I can’t say I didn’t feel the pressure but there was also a sense of tremendous pride,” she said in an interview while also highlighting that “breaking barriers and being a trailblazer in a traditionally male-dominated field has been empowering. However, the weight of being a symbol of progress and representing women in the military can be immense.”

“If I had a message for all young girls who want to be peacekeepers, it would be – embrace your strengths and know that your voice and actions matter. Believe in yourself and there is nothing you cannot achieve,” Rustamova went on to say.

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