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March 13, 2005
UN Sexual Abuses Pandemic

The Washington Post reports that United Nations peacekeepers now face numerous and substantial allegations of sexual abuse in several of their peacekeeping efforts, belying the notion that the Congo provided just a fluke or an exception to the lax oversight and inherent lack of central discipline for UN troops. These allegations include forced prostitution, sexual extortion for food and water, and exploiting pre-teen girls for sex. Turtle Bay now wants internal reviews of all seventeen peacekeeping missions around the world to determine how bad it gets:

The United Nations is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct by U.N. personnel in Burundi, Haiti, Liberia and elsewhere, which is complicating the organization's efforts to contain a sexual abuse scandal that has tarnished its Nobel Prize-winning peacekeepers in Congo.

The allegations indicate that a series of measures the United Nations has taken in recent years have failed to eliminate a culture of sexual permissiveness that has plagued its far-flung peacekeeping operations over the last 12 years. But senior U.N. officials say they have signaled their seriousness by imposing new reforms and forcing senior U.N. military commanders and officials to step down if they do not curb such practices. ...

The reports of sexual abuse have come from U.N. officials, internal U.N. documents, and local and international human rights organizations that have tracked the issue. Some U.N. officials and outside observers say there have been cases of abuse in almost every U.N. mission, including operations in Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Kosovo.

"This is a problem in every mission around the world," said Sarah Martin, an expert on the subject at Refugees International who recently conducted investigations into misconduct by U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti and Liberia. "If you don't have a strict code of discipline, accountability and transparency in the process, then you're going to continue to have a problem."

The problem springs from the UN's insistence on using poorly-disciplined troops from countries that hardly represent the best settings for training professional troops. They have used African Union troops for most of the African deployments, which only sounds good on paper. Troops with poor discipline that come from countries with internal instabilities of their own will not follow orders in the field, especially when it comes to the kinds of temptation that power imbalances present. That's why professional armies drill the hell out of their troops -- to establish the discipline and the respect for rank that has to exist in order to keep an army from turning into a criminal gang.

The UN has no track record of imposing such discipline, and in fact has no mechanism for it. Their use of such troops disqualifies them as serious candidates for the role of peacekeepers and demonstrates the necessity of the Western democracies to provide for policing and enforcing UN policies and resolutions. Until we learn that lesson -- that the use of force entails more than just political correctness and a blue helmet for legitimacy -- then we doom women and girls to this kind of rapine and exploitation wherever the UN is given control.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 13, 2005 9:36 AM

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» UN Sex Crimes Not Just In Congo from Cheat-Seeking Missiles
I've been checking the UN press briefing a few times weekly for the last several months and posting updates on the (lack of) progress on theUN sex scandal invstigation (inept) and prosecution(gainst their rules). And it's not just the troops in th... [Read More]

Tracked on March 13, 2005 3:09 PM

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