n African Security Review - Examining the UN's plans to eliminate and address cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations : peacekeepers as perpetrators of abuse - : essay

Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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I am afraid there is clear evidence that acts of gross misconduct have taken place. This is a shameful thing for the United Nations to have to say, and I am absolutely outraged by it. - Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General <br>Despite promulgating a comprehensive set of guidelines to deter UN personnel from committing acts of sexual misconduct, allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse have become widespread within United Nations peacekeeping missions. The policy of zero-tolerance for peacekeeper misconduct has not been matched by strong disciplinary measures, and crimes are often ignored and rarely punished: absentee fathers, rapists and murderers simply disappear back in their home countries. In countries where women and children rarely have the same economic resources, political rights and authority or control over their environment - or their bodies - they easily become prey for those in perceived positions of power and authority. By failing to hold those responsible to account, the UN may in fact be fuelling even greater discrimination and violence against women and children. In order to ensure those who are mandated to protect to do not become perpetrators of abuse, the UN must take a stronger stand against those who commit acts of sexual misconduct, and must ensure that victims see that their abuser is brought to justice and that reparation is offered. A recent report submitted by the Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse makes a comprehensive set of recommendations to prevent, detect, and respond to these allegations. The aim of this essay is to highlight some of the main points of the Special Envoy's report, and to examine the practical challenges the UN and troop/police contributing countries will face when attempting to implement these recommendations.

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