Exploitation by Peacekeepers - No Longer Business as Usual
Previously, we have expressed our dissapointment in MINUSTAH after 108 Sri Lankan peacekeepers were accused of sexual misconduct, or more specifically, paying minors for sex. We do not believe this was limited to one brigade and were concerned that there would be few consequences for these violations.
However, there have been consequences. According to Jonathan Katz, one tenth of the Sri Lankan batallion has recently been recalled home and face legal proceedings and possible court-martials. Three officers were withdrawn for failure of leadership and the unit's commander was replaced.
In addition, every unit in the 7,800 strong peacekeeping force, has been warned against further misconduct. The UN chief envoy, Hedi Annabi, said officials are keeping a close eye on MINUSTAH, and other peacekeeping forces around the world.
In recent years, the international community has become more aware of, and less tolerant of, abuses of power by peacekeepers. These violations are exploitative and do not go unnoticed by the populace that the peacekeepers have been asked to serve.
Abuse jeapordizes individuals, the success of the mission, and the credibility of the United Nations. We are pleased to see high level attention and action concerning abuses and will keep you updated of further developments.