UN report says peacekeeping sex abuse allegation pending with India

By: | Published: March 10, 2017 6:23 PM

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres yesterday released a report on 'Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: A New Approach for consideration by the General Assembly'.

A new UN report on measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers has said action against one such allegation is pending with India. (AP)

A new UN report on measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers has said action against one such allegation is pending with India which has appointed a focal point to handle future paternity claims related to sexual abuse.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres yesterday released a report on ‘Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: A New Approach for consideration by the General Assembly’.

During his first week in office in January 2017, the Secretary-General had established a diverse High-Level Task Force to develop as a matter of urgency a strategy to achieve visible and measurable improvements in the way the Organisation prevents and responds to sexual exploitation and abuse.

“Such acts of cruelty should never take place. Certainly no person serving with the United Nations in any capacity should be associated with such vile and vicious crimes,” the Secretary-General said in his message as the report was released.

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The report said that action regarding 31 allegations reported between 2010 and 2015 and substantiated by investigations is pending with 20 member states. Of these, action on one allegation of sexual exploitation or abuse in a case in 2013 is pending with India. The report, however, did not give details of the case.

Outlining the best practices taken by member states to address allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation, the report noted that India has informed the Secretariat it had appointed a focal point to handle future paternity claims related to sexual exploitation and abuse.

In addition, India designated the Ministry of Women and Child Development to give assistance in paternity cases and shared the applicable legal framework governing paternity claims with the Secretariat. In 2015, the UN report had said Indian peacekeepers faced allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in three separate cases between 2010 and 2013.

The UN chief’s latest report said the number of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse recorded in 2016 increased to 103, from 69 allegations in 2015. A high number of the allegations received can be attributed to UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

However, the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is among the six peacekeeping missions that had no allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse to report in 2016. Underscoring that the UN should not be, in any way, associated with the vile and vicious crimes of rape, sexual violence, exploitation and abuse, Guterres outlined a new victim-centred approach to prevent and respond to such abuses committed by those serving under the UN flag.

The Secretary-General’s report outlines a victim-centred strategy that is rooted in transparency, accountability and ensuring justice.

Noting that exploitation is also deeply rooted in gender inequality and discrimination, Guterres said that promoting gender equality throughout the UN system, including its missions and peacekeeping forces, would help advance parity and at the same time decrease incidents of abuse.

“Let us do so in the name of all who look to the UN for life-saving protection and support – and on behalf of the tens of thousands of UN personnel around the world who deliver that assistance with courage and commitment to the highest ideals,” he stressed.

The report also emphasises the need to engage with UN member states and calls for a high-level meeting on sexual exploitation and abuses in 2017 on the margins of the general debate of the 72nd session of the General Assembly.

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