Posted by: bklunk | December 4, 2006

That’s Peacekeeping?

A disturbing note from mdimont:

BBC shows abuse by UN Peacekeepers

Recently the BBC aired a report on allegations what United Nations Peacekeepers were sexually abusing local citizens during a peacekeeping mission in Haiti.  Among other things, the report showed three UN Peacekeepers at a bar paying young women to come home with them and left in a clearly marked UN vehicle.  The BBC also reports of a sixteen year old girl who claims she was raped by a Brazilian soldier who was part of the peacekeeping force. 

In response to the report, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute told the BBC that abuse by peacekeeping troops “is going on … and I don’t challenge the facts as they were presented… I’m outraged. I’m outraged that this goes on.”  She insisted that the UN was working to prevent this from happening again.  Head of the UN mission in Haiti said that the soldiers, if found guilty, would be sent home and punished by their home country.  Lute added that the UN needs to do more to ensure the victims are able to find out what action was taken to punish their abusers. 

I find it disgusting that such abuse goes on by the peacekeeping force in Haiti.  These peacekeepers are supposed to be seen as a force helping the people of Haiti and not as people they have to fear.  The UN must do everything they can to put an end to this abuse and ensure the UN remains an organization trusted by the people it is working to protect. 

UN official admits peacekeepers abuse of citizens, expresses “outrage”

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Responses

  1. WOW! This is NOT good!. I realize that the officials who know that this is going on are outraged but what are they doing to fix it? Are these abusers being sent back to thier countries and being punished. Are the people recieving medical and/or psycological treatment after this happens. Are the peacekeeping soldiers doing good things in Haiti or is it an option to pull all of them out? This is not a small issue. I cant believe that this would be tolerated by the UN! It needs to stop.

  2. This situation is truly a shame and must be dealt with accordingly. I agree that the soldiers, if found guilty, need to be punished. I think that they must both be punished by the U.N. and their home countries severely. This type of behavior is completely unacceptable, and should be unheard of when dealing with a peace-keeping body such as the U.N. It is frightening to hear that people who have the capability of doing so much good in the world are bringing more hurt to those people who have already suffered so much!

  3. This is so sad, and unfortunately, this is not new news
    See this article from March for example:

    Sexual abuse and rape have been prevelante in UN peacekeeping missions for some time now. I agree with Kelly that something needs to be done to fix the problem. It seems punishing those responsible will not be enough, as this has been a pattern of behavior and not just an isolated incident. Perhaps the UN needs to take a serious look at their training procedures to determine if there is a better way to combat this behavior in the future.

  4. This is so sad, and unfortunately, this is not new news
    See this article from March for example:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1445537,00.html

    Sexual abuse and rape have been prevelante in UN peacekeeping missions for some time now. I agree with Kelly that something needs to be done to fix the problem. It seems punishing those responsible will not be enough, as this has been a pattern of behavior and not just an isolated incident. Perhaps the UN needs to take a serious look at their training procedures to determine if there is a better way to combat this behavior in the future.

  5. It is horrible that this is coming from UN forces. I wonder if this will significantly effect the UN’s credibility in international matters. For example, when the UN would not support the US led coalition before the Iraqi War, would Europe have given their decision as much notice if these allegations had been floating around at the time? This is obviously one of the reasons why the UN is in dire need of reform.

  6. This is most definitely horrible and appalling news. I myself would never have thought that sexual abuse would be happening under a U.N. umbrella. The U.N. is supposed to be the poster child for peace; however, these actions go entirely against this belief. After reading about the incidents in Haiti, one is almost forced to question if the U.N. should be sending their troops to Darfur if the opportunity arises. The women in Darfur, some of whom have been raped and sexually harassed multiple times would be looking at U.N. soldiers as trustworthy people, however, what if the “peacekeepers” assaulted these women once again? What kind of message would or is the U.N. sending? I agree that those who are found guilty need to be punished; however, I don’t think that they should just be sent back to their home country and punished there. The U.N. needs to deal with the issue and the individuals because it is the U.N.’s problem. It happened on their watch, when they were supposed to be helping the people.

  7. How disappointing to read about this. It’s even more disappointing to think that this certainly hasn’t been the first time something like this has happened either, just like Brian pointed out. There definitely needs to be serious consequences for those soldiers involved in such shameful acts and I don’t doubt that there wouldn’t be action against those that committed these acts. However, will the trust of the people the UN is serving ever be restored? I think that’s another important issue to consider that will certainly have long-lasting repercussions.

  8. Really disappointing to read this article! I agree with some of the statements above that the UN should rethink their training and hiring practices for peacekeepers. These people go into areas that have already devastated the people there, the last thing these people need is more harm done to them. Its really ashamed that an institution like the UN was represented horribly in these cases. UN peacekeepers need to be welcomed and supported to do there jobs, not as potential threats. I hope the UN seriously addresses this problem.

  9. It’s disappointing to hear that the UN has been represented this way. I’m sure that the UN is addressing this issue, but to know that it has happened before only makes me skeptical of this kind of behavior being stopped. How does the UN chose members of its peacekeeping forces around the world? We all agree that the UN needs to handle this situation, however is there anything WE can do? Hearing this kind of news from an international organization is nothing we want to hear, but it can be stopped. But how, since it’s happened before?

  10. What else can you feel after learning such a thing than complete outrage that an “upstanding” and trusted organization such as the UN has members that are engaging in such despicable conduct. How are civilians in countries supposed to react to these so-called “peace-keepers” when these people themselves are engaging in some of the conduct that they are supposed to prevent from happening?

  11. The UN has a responsibility when it sends peacekeepers into a country and that is to keep citizens safe. Peacekeepers need to be trained and have clean backgrounds in order to help curb some of these disturbing events. The countries peacekeepers are sent into already face severe problems and for these actions to occur could mean that the events are never reported because of fear instilled into the community or laws that prevent women from making a case against a man. I hope the UN looks into this issue seriously because this is not the first time I have heard of such events.

  12. I suppose admitting that there is a problem is the first step to addressing it. However, it’s still a long way from fixing the issue. Because these involve peacekeeping soldiers who are usually in dangerous situations, it is entirely likely that these incidences are under reported. The UN as of late has faced some scandels; for no other reason they should be interested in addressing and resolving this for their own self-image.


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