UN peacekeeper reform will only restore credibility if those who rape and sexually exploit the people they are supposed to protect are brought to trial and punished, Amnesty International said today.
A report released today by the UN Secretary General on the recommendations of the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations includes important recommendations to prevent further sex abuse scandals. These include the creation of rapid response teams, mechanisms for local communities to complain and in-country trials.
However, the report falls short of calling for an important deterrent - asking the UN Secretary-General’s annual report must include full details about cases, including trials and sentences.
Sexual misconduct by UN peacekeepers threatens to discredit the entire UN system if it goes unpunished. Unless people are held to account, other reforms will fade into irrelevance. Every time someone wearing the blue beret commits an abuse and gets away with it, another piece of trust in the UN is chipped away,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.
Peacekeepers should be protectors, not predators. Countries that fail to hold their people to account should be suspended from peacekeeping.
Ban Ki-moon’s legacy will rest on how well he delivers on his espoused determination to stamp out sexual abuse among UN peacekeepers.
The head of the UN’s MINUSCA peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic resigned last month after Amnesty International revealed the rape of a 12-year-old girl and apparent indiscriminate killing of a 16-year-old boy and his father by peacekeeping forces in the country. The UN has launched investigations into the two incidents.