11 March 2016

Africa: Security Council Endorses Steps to Combat Sexual Exploitation By UN Peacekeepers

The United Nations Security Council today endorsed special measures recommended by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to prevent and combat sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers.

Through a resolution adopted by a vote of 14 in favour, with one abstention (Egypt), the Council specifically endorsed the decision of the Secretary-General "to repatriate a particular military unit or formed police unit of a contingent when there is credible evidence of widespread or systemic sexual exploitation and abuse by that unit."

This decision was one of several recommendations in a report presented yesterday by the UN chief to the 15-member body that, for the first time, listed the names of the countries of alleged perpetrators. It also showed an increase in the number of new allegations in 2015, with 69 of the total 99 allegations lodged against UN personnel serving in peace operations.

The United States-sponsored text, adopted as resolution 2272, further requested that the Secretary-General replace all units of the troop- or police-contributing country from which the perpetrator is from if appropriate steps have not been taken by the country to investigate the allegation, and/or when the perpetrators have not been held accountable, and/or when there has been failure to inform the Secretary-General of the progress of its investigation or actions taken.

The resolution also highlighted the Council's deep concern over the "continuing and serious allegations" of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as in other UN peacekeeping operations and by non-UN forces.

Ongoing efforts by Member States to strengthen sexual exploitation and abuse pre-deployment training was also welcomed by the Council, which urged further efforts to be taken in this regard.

In addition, the resolution underscored the critical importance that civilians, in particular women and children sites for internally displaced persons and refugees, are protected from any form of abuse or exploitation. It also encouraged the appropriate UN mechanisms, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), to continue to include allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in their regular reporting.

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