Canada urged to lead fight against UN peacekeeper sex abuse
OTTAWA — With the Trudeau Liberals pledging a return to peacekeeping, Canada is being urged to play a leading role in stamping out what is being described as rampant sexual abuse by United Nations peacekeepers. Stephen Lewis, a former Canadian ambassador to the UN, is one of the leaders of an international coalition for the creation of an independent management board to oversee UN peacekeeping. Lewis, co-chair of the Code Blue coalition, wants Canada to lead the charge in UN corridors to wrestle control of peacekeeping away from the UN and place it with an independent board, similar to a bankruptcy trustee. Lewis and others are accusing top UN brass of turning a blind eye to systemic sexual abuse by peacekeepers. The coalition has been calling for UN reform following the scandal that erupted last year in the Central African Republic with child sex abuse allegations against French soldiers involving boys as young as nine. Another Canadian, retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps, co-authored a report released last month that accused the UN of a “gross institutional failure’’ because of how it responded to the abuse allegations.