New statistics on sexual misconduct at UN missions indicate no increase in allegations

08:29, July 20, 2010      

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Statistics released by the UN on Monday indicated that there were 21 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in UN field missions in the second quarter of 2010, eight of which involved minors.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Martin Nesirky, the UN spokesman, said that the numbers, which were released by the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Field Support (DFS), are down from last quarter when there were 24 allegations of which ten concerned minors.

"Overall the number of allegations during the first half of this year is roughly the same as that of the first half of 2009," Nesirky added.

In 2005, the UN established a Conduct and Discipline Team in DPKO in response to the need for increased accountability and reform regarding the behavior of UN mission staffers.

The team became the Conduct and Discipline Unit (CDU) in 2007 and is now enhanced with Conduct and Discipline Teams (CDTs), which are deployed at mission sites to provide advice on conduct and discipline on the ground. The CDU also oversees allegations of misconduct, and provides outreach and training to UN workers in the field as to how to adhere to protocol.

"The UN employs around 120 staff members in the field dedicated to addressing conduct and discipline in 14 teams cover peacekeeping and special political missions," Nesirky said. "They handle more than 1,000 allegations per year for all types of misconduct and for all categories of UN personnel, security, military, and police."

Earlier this month, two UN peacekeepers are under UN investigation for their alleged involvement in sex abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Farhan Haq, the UN associate spokesman, told reporters here that "the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has received an allegation of sexual exploitation against two military personnel serving with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo."

The image of the UN force in the DRC was tarnished by a series of scandals including sex abuse, prompting the United Nations to set a "zero tolerance" policy in 2005 for its peacekeepers having sex with Congolese.

On June 18, the 192-nation General Assembly adopted a resolution to reaffirm the need for UN organizations and troop contributing countries to work together in order to hold UN workers on the ground accountable for any sexual misconduct committed. The resolution urged the UN secretary-general to take action in order to prevent unsubstantiated claims of sexual misconduct from harming the reputation of the UN and member states.

"I am encouraged to see member states, the United Nations Secretariat, Troop Continuing Countries and Police Contributing Countries committed to working together to ensure there is zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse, and zero impunity when such incidents to occur," said Alain Le Roy, UN under-secretary- general for peacekeeping operations.

Source: Xinhua


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