UN must get tough on peacekeeper sex abuse

The United Nations must establish its own oversight of peacekeepers, with special watchdogs in UN missions to investigate allegations of rape and sexual abuse, said Amnesty International today, ahead of the publication of recommendations from an independent panel.

The external Independent Review Panel on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the Central African Republic (CAR) was formed to investigate the response of the United Nations to allegations of rape surrounding a deployment of foreign military forces in CAR.

Amnesty International is also calling for the UN to ensure transparency around investigations and penalties and name and shame countries that fail to discipline their troops, including through holding them criminally accountable.

Systematic abuse in peacekeeping threatens to undermine the UN’s fundamental mission in the country – to protect civilians.
Richard Bennett, Head of Amnesty International’s UN office.

“The allegations in CAR, including the rape of a 12-year-old girl in Bangui by peacekeepers that Amnesty International reported this August, seems like the tip of the iceberg. Systematic abuse in peacekeeping threatens to undermine the UN’s fundamental mission in the country – to protect civilians,” said Richard Bennett, Head of Amnesty International’s UN office.

“Troop contributing countries have consistently failed to investigate and discipline their troops when credible allegations have been reported, allowing impunity for sexual abuse and violence.

“The UN’s current system fails woefully in its responsibility to prevent and punish sexual violence by members of UN peacekeeping missions. As a result the UN too often abandons the people it is supposed to protect. It is time to get serious and troop contributors that fail to prevent abuse or hold perpetrators to account should be suspended until they have proven that they have taken effective measures.”