Monday, April 4, 2016 at 7:49 AM

UN Peacekeepers like Foxes Guarding Henhouse

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

The United Nations on Wednesday said it has widened an investigation of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by foreign peacekeepers in Central African Republic and notified authorities in France, Gabon and Burundi about the charges.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday the world body had received new sexual abuse allegations against U.N. peacekeepers from Morocco and Burundi in Central African Republic (CAR), including one that involved a 14-year-old girl…

In December, an independent review panel accused the U.N. and its agencies of grossly mishandling allegations of child sexual abuse and rape by international peacekeepers in CAR in 2013 and 2014.

(Reuters, March 31, 2016)

0,,18488012_303,00Reading the above should leave us all shocked and appalled. But, after revelations about child sexual abuse and rape by Catholic priests, I find it hard to summon the outrage such betrayals of trust demand. I suspect the same is the case with you too.

Not to mention that UN peacekeepers have been sexually exploiting and abusing children for decades. In fact, I duly vented outrage in “UN Peacekeepers Preying on Helpless Haitians?! Yes,” June 23, 2015, “UN Corrupt from Head to Toe?” June 17, 2005, and “Kofi Annan’s UN Malaise: Corruption, Sex,” February 20, 2005, which includes the following excerpt.

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A few weeks ago, disgusted officials leaked an internal UN report, which found that peacekeepers had sexually exploited and abused African refugees in the DR Congo. These leaks forced Annan to admit that he had known for some time about his staff’s criminal conduct. Conduct, incidentally, that included pedophilia, rape, and prostitution (some of which was caught on tape).

He offered words of contrition to the African victims and pledged to convene a commission to investigate these crimes. Except that, in doing so, he was treating these victims like poor, ignorant fools. After all, just years ago, another internal UN report found evidence of similar ‘widespread’ sexual exploitation and abuse of African refugees by UN staff.

__________________

ban_ki_mon_0That was over 10 years ago, folks. This is why the UN announcing an investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers rings so hollow; rather like the Vatican announcing the same with respect to priests.

Indeed, it is self-evident that the UN is no more interested in punishing predatory peacekeepers than the Vatican is in punishing pedophiles priests. Recall that it took prosecutors in Boston, not Bishops in Rome, to hold pedophile priests to account – as the Oscar-nominated film Spotlight dramatized to sobering effect.

un_carAccordingly, the United States should lead the five permanent members in calling on the UN to strip peacekeepers of immunity for any crime committed outside the scope of their mission.

U.N. peacekeepers, including troops, civilians and U.N. staff who [rape and abuse women and children] can do so behind a cloak of immunity, knowing that they will not be held to account for their heinous actions…

Over the last two decades, peacekeepers have been accused of abuses in Liberia, Congo, Bosnia and Haiti. Personnel have forced women and children to have sex in exchange for food, have trafficked women into U.N. missions and systematically raped them, and have committed other egregious acts of sexual violence

(CNN, May 25, 2015)

In other words, instead of producing more internal reports, the UN should adhere to the categorical imperative of allowing local prosecutors to prosecute predatory peacekeepers, just as they now prosecute predatory priests.

Related commentaries:
UN preying
UN corrupt
UN malaise

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