Security Council To Tackle Sexual Exploitation By UN Peacekeepers

Members of the UN Security Council are negotiating a draft resolution that would tackle the escalation in sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers, particularly in Africa.

The Council is expected to receive a briefing from the Secretary General when it meets on the matter on Thursday, but it’s unclear if the resolution will be ready for a vote.

The negotiating text is in response to a new UN report issued last week detailing the 69 allegations of sexual abuse by blue helmets in 2015, with almost two dozen in the Central African Republic alone.

The United States wants the Security Council to weigh in on the Secretary General’s recommendations, which include on-site court martial proceedings and heightened accountability from troop contributing countries.

The SG’s deputy spokesperson  Farhan Haq says, “This is still a matter that would come up for consideration by the Security Council. So, I’ll preface it by pointing out that this is a matter in the hands of the member states of the Security Council and we’ll leave it in their hands. But you’ll already have seen what the Secretary General himself has been doing particularly with regard to the naming of troop contributing countries.”

Among the new initiatives to combat this exploitation is the naming and shaming of countries where the alleged abusers come from.  

However, this is causing some discussion in the closed door negotiations as some members are opposed to the a Council resolution that mandates the naming and shaming of countries.

Of the 69 cases in 2015, 22 involved peacekeepers stationed in the Central African Republic and 16 in the DRC.

Several of the victims where minors.

South Africa has been named as one of the accused countries in the report among a list of mainly African countries.

Under-Secretary General for Field Support,  Athul Kare says:  “This year’s report for the first time will contain detail and access outlining the nature of the allegation, the number of victims per allegation, the number of perpetrators per allegation. It will also identify the countries from which such perpetrators came. If a member state does not complete an investigation within say a long time period of even one year, then consideration needs to be given to whether we should continue to deploy peacekeepers from that country.'”

None of the cases listed in 2015 have as yet resulted in prosecutions, something the Security Council could address in the draft resolution as well.