UN Peacekeepers and sexual abuse - VeggieBoards
Forum Jump: 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 11-24-2004, 09:37 PM
IamJen's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19,134


UNITED NATIONS - Linked in the past to sex crimes in East Timor (news - web sites), and prostitution in Cambodia and Kosovo, U.N. peacekeepers have now been accused of sexually abusing the very population they were deployed to protect in Congo.

And while the 150 allegations of rape, pedophelia and solicitation in Congo may be the United Nations (news - web sites)' worst sex scandal in years, chronic problems almost guarantee that few of the suspects will face serious punishment.

The problem is simple: The United Nations often implores nations to discipline their peacekeepers, but it has little power to enforce the rules. And when nations are reluctant anyway to contribute soldiers for dangerous missions like Congo, it's tough to turn the tables and shame them publicly.

"The U.N. goes around trying to cajole countries to provide peacekeepers," said Edward Luck, a professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. "They're having a hard time getting any member states to respond, and that doesn't give the U.N. a great deal of leverage in these kinds of situations."

While thousands of U.N. peacekeepers have served without incident, some have been accused of smuggling weapons and exotic animals, selling fuel on the black market, vandalizing airplanes, and standing by while mobs looted storefronts if they didn't join in the chaos themselves.

Other times their inaction led to even more grievous crimes, as when Dutch peacekeepers under a U.N. mandate didn't stop Bosnian troops in the enclave of Srebrenica from loading Muslim men onto buses and taking them away to be killed.

That failure led the entire Dutch government to resign. It brought expressions of remorse at the United Nations, but no firings.

In the case of Congo, the accusations seem as bad as anything the United Nations has ever seen. Women and children have reportedly been raped, and there is said to be video and photographic evidence of crimes.

Similar allegations have been directed at U.N. peacekeepers and officials in East Timor. And, in Cambodia and Kosovo, local officials and human rights group charge that the presence of U.N. forces has been linked to an increase in trafficking of women and a sharp rise in prostitution.

In a new embarrassment, the United Nations confirmed Tuesday that a U.N. auditor in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, had been accused of hiring a prostitute. He comes from the agency that is investigating the latest claims, but isn't taking part in the probe.

The Web site for the Congo mission, known by its French acronym MONUC, reveals how bad the problem is but how little can be done. It includes a Nov. 11 report that details the "sensitization training" given to 143 South African peacekeepers when they arrived in the city of Goma.

"A Power-Point presentation explains or reminds that the U.N. considers that any person who is less than 18 years old is a CHILD," the report said, adding that sex with a minor is child abuse. "No matter whether the child seems to agree to the sexual relation or if the age of the child is not clear enough at the moment of the sexual encounter."

The Congo allegations come at a particularly bad time for the United Nations and its Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites).

U.N. officials have been accused of allowing corruption under Iraq (news - web sites)'s oil-for-food program. The refugee chief was accused of sexual harassment and cleared by Annan, which angered U.N. staff. The U.N.'s top investigator allegedly recruited and promoted staff based on their ethnicity, but was also cleared by Annan.

"The last 18 months have been one of the worst years and a half for the United Nations of any similar period that I can remember," said Jonathan Tepperman, senior editor at Foreign Affairs magazine. "This is the last thing that Kofi needed."

In the face of another potential public relations disaster, U.N. officials have come out early and loud with a denunciation of the problems in Congo. They have announced a spate of new investigations and reportedly made the complaint process easier in countries.

So-called "personnel conduct officers" have been sent to the missions in Congo, Burundi, Ivory Coast and Haiti.

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
IamJen is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 Old 11-24-2004, 10:13 PM
Veggie Regular
Dirty Martini's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 8,777
argh! stop posting this stuff! I really need to start wearing my blindfold more often.

ok, not really but... gah.

wasn't it peebs who was selling that bucket of sand as that fashionable new head-burying accessory? where's the order form?
Dirty Martini is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the VeggieBoards forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off