A report released by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reveals that in 2015, there were 69 allegations of sexual abuse against U.N. peacekeepers in 21 countries.
According to Reuters, the report details that there have been “99 new allegations of sexual exploitation or sexual abuse against United Nations staff members across the U.N. system” overall, but only 69 of these involved individuals sent on peacekeeping missions.
The report has identified the names and nationalities of the alleged abusers, due to a recently-implemented "’name and shame’ policy…after a series of allegations of rape and sexual abuse by international troops in Central African Republic (CAR).”
It states that the majority of the abuse allegations came from troops in African countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (with 7 allegations), Burundi, Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda, Congo Republic, Burkina Faso, Niger, and South Africa; countries such as Germany, Canada, Slovakia, and Moldova also faced allegations.
The U.S. has found the increase of allegations alarming (there were only 80 sexual abuse allegations in 2014) and is “pushing the United Nations Security Council to call for the repatriation of peacekeepers if there is a pattern of sexual exploitation and abuse by troops of a certain nationality or if a country fails to investigate accusations.”
Repatriation is the process of sending an individual back to their country of origin.
Reuters notes that a senior U.S. official has stated these allegations “undermine not only peacekeeping missions but really the credibility of the U.N…We're the largest financial contributor to peacekeeping and have an enormous vested interest in seeing peacekeeping be effective, being credible and actually doing what it is supposed to do, which is to protect civilians.”
It is important to address the seriousness and disturbing nature of the numerous allegations, but it is apparently difficult to hold the accused troops accountable. The U.N. is in charge of prosecuting individuals, which sometimes “[takes] place quietly…it is difficult to follow up on the results and punishments.”
Transparency is key in this instance, and if the U.N. does not thoroughly direct efforts to combat this issue, the U.S. will at least be moving toward repatriation.
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