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UN: Dealing with Disgrace: Addressing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peacekeeping

Tuesday 3 October 2017, by siawi3

Source: http://www.css.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/resources/docs/IPI-Rpt-Dealing-with-Disgrace2.pdf

August 2017

Dealing with Disgrace:
Addressing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peacekeeping

PROVIDING FOR PEACEKEEPING NO. 15

Jeni Whalan

CONTENTS

Executive Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
The Genesis of Resolution 2272. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
THE CRISIS IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
MOMENTUM TOWARD SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION
Resolution 2272’s Approach to Prevention
and Accountability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Debates, Gaps, and Controversies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
PROBLEMS OF DEFINITION AND CRITERIA
OPERATIONAL PROBLEMS
LEGITIMACY OF THE APPROACH TO MEMBER-STATE
ACCOUNTABILITY
GAPS IN RESOLUTION 2272
Recommendations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
LEGITIMIZE THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’S
DISCRETIONARY AUTHORITY
ENSURE THAT DETERRENTS ARE CREDIBLE
ENABLE MEMBER STATES TO ADOPT THEIR OWN
ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES
MAKE INVESTIGATIONS AND RESPONSES
TRAUMA-SENSITIVE
PROVIDE TIMELY AND ADEQUATE MEDICAL AND
PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT TO SURVIVORS OF ABUSE
INCENTIVIZE STRONGER ACCOUNTABILITY IN
NON-UN OPERATIONS
STRENGTHEN ACCOUNTABILITY FOR CIVILIAN
PERPETRATORS
ADDRESS UNDERREPORTING AND IMPROVE
MONITORING
CREATE THE CONDITIONS TO ENABLE REFORM
Annex: Chronology of Key Reports, Reforms,
and Related Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
23

Executive Summary

UN peacekeeping has survived many crises
throughout its history, but none has provoked such
distinctive disgrace as peacekeepers committing
sexual violence against those they are meant to
protect.
Two decades of incremental reform within the UN
system have produced a plethora of policy shifts and
structural changes. Advocacy reports have revealed
the scope of the problem and progressively elevated
its moral and political significance. Investigations
and reviews have identified causes, risk factors,
and—repeatedly—institutional failings on the part
of the UN system. In debates and resolutions, UN
member states have affirmed their commitment to
reforms. Management reforms at UN headquarters
and in the field have sought to clarify policies,
introduce and strengthen response protocols, create
new organizational architectures and responsibili-
ties, and allocate resources accordingly.
But these reforms have not stopped sexual abuse
by peacekeepers—both UN personnel and non-UN
forces operating under a Security Council mandate.
Determined rhetoric has not translated into
effective action, a reality laid bare by the sexual
abuse crisis in the Central African Republic, where
allegations of egregious abuse and their gross
mishandling by UN staff demonstrated the urgent
need for transformative action across the UN
system. These allegations coincided with a major
review of UN peace operations by the High-Level
Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO),
which dedicated a section of its report and seven
discrete recommendations to addressing sexual
abuse and enhancing accountability.
Against this backdrop, on March 11, 2016, the
UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2272.
This resolution recognized that sexual violence by
peacekeepers not only inflicts unconscionable
harm on individual victims but also undermines
the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions and the
moral authority of the entire United Nations. It
also directed the secretary-general to replace all
military or police units from any contributing
country that had failed to hold perpetrators
accountable.
Resolution 2272’s approach makes three notable
contributions to the UN’s system-wide reform
efforts:
1. It clarifies and reinforces the secretary-general’s
authority to repatriate and replace an entire
national contingent from a peacekeeping
operation if there are sufficient indications of a
pattern of sexual exploitation and abuse by
members of that contingent.
2. It targets the part of the accountability chain
that the Secretariat cannot: the obligations of
UN member states to investigate and report on
allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, to
hold perpetrators accountable, and to inform
the secretary-general of the progress of investi-
gations and actions taken.
3. It adds new impetus and political support to the
UN’s ongoing agenda of administrative reforms,
including by prioritizing the needs of survivors
in UN responses and emphasizing the need for
expanded vetting of personnel for past sexual
abuse and for broader human rights screening.
Important questions remain, however, about
how to interpret the resolution’s ambiguous
language and how to operationalize its prescrip-
tions. At the most practical level, serious doubts
remain about the resolution’s feasibility. Given the
perpetual undersupply of UN peacekeepers, can a
large national contingent ever really be subject to
repatriation without endangering the entire
mission?
In June 2017 the Republic of Congo withdrew its
military peacekeepers from the Central African
Republic, prompted by a UN review that found
allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against
its personnel indicated systemic problems in
command and control. The repatriation of over
600 peacekeepers represents a clear case of
Resolution 2272 in action. But lengthy delays in
removing this notorious contingent from the field,
despite much earlier credible evidence implicating
that nation’s troops in systemic abuse, cast
damning light on the UN’s inability to take swift,
decisive, and necessary action to protect civilians
from predatory peacekeepers or deliver justice to
survivors of abuse.
This report analyzes Resolution 2272’s approach
to preventing sexual exploitation and abuse in UN
peacekeeping and examines the key debates and
controversies that have accompanied it. It identifies
nine implementation requirements flowing from
the resolution and makes twenty-one recommen-
dations for delivering them, including:
• Appointing an independent, impartial ombuds -
person with a mandate to review and oversee UN
actions on sexual exploitation and abuse in
peacekeeping;
• Streamlining the UN’s cumbersome reporting
processes and resourcing to enable easier
reporting and more timely action;
• Improving the trauma-sensitivity of investiga-
tions and responses to sexual exploitation and
abuse, including through training, creating a
standing roster of specialist investigators for
rapid deployment, improving cooperation with
and resourcing of local support groups and
services, and brokering new cooperative models
of shared investigations between contributing
countries and the UN in order to minimize the
trauma of repeat investigations;
• Addressing underreporting and institutional
opacity by substantially strengthening whistle-
blower protections and establishing partnerships
with local and international civil society organiza-
tions to promote systematic monitoring of sexual
exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping; and
• Requesting reporting on allegations of sexual
exploitation and abuse against non-UN forces
operating under a Security Council mandate.
The broader implementation of Resolution 2272
must be supported by champions of change. In
2017 the secretary-general outlined an ambitious
new approach to preventing and responding to
sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN
system. Ensuring that Resolution 2272 is compre-
hensively implemented will be one important
component of realizing the transformative
potential of that broader strategy. Within and
outside the UN system, individuals, organizations,
and member states must continue to contribute
political capital, moral leadership, innovative
thinking, collaborative partnerships, and tangible
resources to the task of preventing sexual violence
by peacekeepers and improving accountabiw
hen it occurs. Patient, persistent effort is needed
to shift the complex organizational dynamics that
have enabled sexual exploitation and abuse to
blight the UN system.