Name na­tions whose troops com­mit sex­ual abuse: panel

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY EDITH M. LED­ERER

A high-level panel urged a ma­jor over­haul of U.N. peace­keep­ing oper­a­tions Tues­day that would make po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tions the para­mount goal, speed up de­ploy­ment of peace­keep­ers, and re­quire the nam­ing and sham­ing of coun­tries whose troops com­mit acts of sex­ual abuse.

The panel de­liv­ered its re­port to U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Kimoon amid a grow­ing con­tro­versy over al­le­ga­tions of child sex­ual abuse by French sol­diers in Cen­tral African Re­pub­lic. Con­fi­den­tial docu- ments show the U.N.’s top hu­man rights of­fi­cials did not fol­low up for more than six months af­ter their staff dis­cov­ered the al­leged ex­ploita­tion.

While the panel made rec­om­men­da­tions on is­sues rang­ing from the use of force by peace­keep­ers to fund­ing oper­a­tions and restruc­tur­ing the U.N. Sec­re­tar­iat, the spotlight at a news con­fer­ence launch­ing their re­port was on its pro­pos­als to ad­dress sex­ual ex­ploita­tion and abuse.

The panel’s chair­man Jose Ramos-Horta, a No­bel Peace Prize lau­re­ate and East Ti­mor’s for­mer pres­i­dent, called the news of sex­ual mis­con­duct “the sad­dest for the U.N.,” say­ing it “un­der­mines the most im­por­tant power the U.N. pos­sesses — its un­ques­tion­able in­tegrity.”

“It will take firm lead­er­ship and enor­mous ef­fort to over­come this dark chap­ter,” he said.

For U.N. peace­keep­ers, who can only face jus­tice in their home coun­tries, the panel stressed that “im­mu­nity must not mean im­punity.”

It sup­ported Ban’s rec­om­men­da­tions for a six-month dead­line for in­ves­ti­ga­tions of al­leged sex­ual abuse by troops, and rec­om­mended that coun­tries be re­quired to dis­close dis­ci­plinary ac­tion taken against sol­diers, as well as any gov­ern­ment fail­ures to re­port.

The panel also called for the sec­re­tary-gen­eral’s re­ports to iden­tify the home coun­tries of peace­keep­ers com­mit­ting sex­ual abuse, not just the num­ber of cases. And it said coun­tries listed in the an­nual U.N. re­port for us­ing or sex­u­ally abus­ing chil­dren in con­flict should be barred from con­tribut­ing troops to U.N. mis­sions.

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