UN peacekeeping chief urges States to police their troops against sex abuse

Over the past 20 months, more than 221 peacekeepers have been investigated, 10 civilians have been fired and over 88 uniformed personnel repatriated, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guéhenno told the General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee on Thursday.The UN has established conduct and discipline units at Headquarters and in eight missions to put in place preventive strategies to ensure that sexual abuse and exploitation is eradicated, he said.”Ultimately, the eradication of sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping missions depends on your enforcement of established standards among the personnel you deploy to peacekeeping missions,” he stressed, urging countries to hold their commanders accountable for enforcing standards in the field.”We will likewise hold to account mission managers,” he pledged.”The Department will need your continued commitment to rid UN peacekeeping of these shameful acts, which include the solicitation of prostitutes,” he added. “I mention this because it is clear that not all personnel have understood this. Please help us get this message across.”With 18 peace operations consisting of 83,000 troops, police and civilian staff currently deployed around the world, the UN peacekeeping’s (DPKO) capacity has increased by five times since 2000, and has successfully completed its mandate in Sierra Leone, and Timor-Leste, and is currently responding to the complex situation in Côte d’Ivoire, and Kosovo, Mr. Guéhenno said.”In 2005 alone we will have supported the organization of elections in 5 post-conflict countries: Afghanistan, Burundi, Haiti, Liberia, and soon the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),” as well as comprehensive disarmament in DRC and Haiti, he said.The Under-Secretary-General also noted that dedicated personnel operate in an environment of constant budget shortfalls and maximize their resources. “We run the leanest field operations organization in the world,” he said.

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