Sexual Extortion, Rape, And Sexual Abuse From U.N. Officials: [Essay Example], 1780 words GradesFixer
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Sexual Extortion, Rape, And Sexual Abuse From U.N. Officials

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Introduction

Regrettably, sexual exploitation and rape are not new concepts to the world, but when exploitation (financial or otherwise) occurs in the context of peacekeeping the reality becomes “profoundly disturbing” (Al-Hussein, 2005). The United Nations Security Counsel has had many failures since its installment in the mid 1940s. Larger and more well-known failures such as the Rwandan genocide and the non-foreseeable end to the Syrian refugee crisis are some of the first things to come to mind. However, the U.N.S.C has also had many less visible failures, one of the less known and publicly un-reported scandals are cases of sexual assault, rape, and sexual exploitation claims made against U.N.S.C peacekeeper by the women they are supposedly there to protect. These cases have left “a persistent stain on the United Nations’ image” as journalist Aditi Lalhabour titles one of his works in the African Portal. This stain has only grown as thousands of women have come forward and had their stories reported.What HappenedThe U.N.S.C sexual abuse crisis first emerged in the early 2000s in U.N.S.C Sierra Leone mission with reports of peacekeepers extorting young women and children for sex; promising them humanitarian aid such as medicine and food, this incident was coined ‘The Food-for- Sex’ scandal. These original allegations were followed by a series of similar claims in 2005 about U.N.S.C peacekeepers on mission in the Republic of the Congo (MONIUC) (Lalbahadur, 2017). The Congo quickly became the epicenter of the United Nations rape scandal (Larson, 2017).

The original finding from MONIUC were 105 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, 80 allegations against military personnel, 16 again civilian personnel, and 9 against civilian police – 45% of these allegations were from girls under the age of 18 years old. 31% were from forced prostitution, 13% were rape, 5% sexual assault, and the remaining 6% were allegations of other forms of sexual assault and exploitation (Al-Hussein, 2005). Closely following the U.N. rape scandals in the Congo, came the first case to hit large media platforms globally. Over 130 peacekeepers from Sir Lanka were stationed in Haiti, and created a child sex ring which ran from 2004-2007. 114 Peacekeepers were sent home once action was taken but many were simply reassigned onto different missions. Not one of these men were punished or imprisoned, and many are still in active duty (Dodds, 2017).

These are simply the three most commonly known instances of U.N.S.C peacekeepers abusing their power and authority to use children and women alike. There have been thousands of claims made against U.N. officials, reports of rape, prostitution, human trafficking, and abuse of minors have been found in Eriteria, Mozambique, Somalia, Bosnia, Liberia and of course Haiti, the Congo, and Sierra Leone. (Essa, 2017). It is impossible to focus on only one major instance of sexual misconduct displayed by U.N. officials, when year after year more cases are brought forwards, and no justice is found. Recent statistics (although slightly declined in numbers) are not much better then the original reports, all the while women and children around the world are scared of the peacekeepers sent to protect them. There are many implications from this kind of behaviour, which have wide affect. First, the U.N.S.C. and their peacekeepers lack credibility to advise the government of the countries on the needed changes in their states, when the basic standards of international human rights and the law are not being respected by their own personnel (Al-Hussein, 2005).Rape, sexual assault and exploitation mentally and physically effect both the attacker and the victim.Medically, there is an increased chance of the attacker contracting or spreading sexually transmitted diseases or HIV/AIDS. Many states in which the U.N.S.C. are stationed have high rates of STDs or HIV/AIDS, increasing the chance of the attacker contracting these types of health problems, returning home and spreading it in their home state or on other missions (Al-Hussein, 2005).

All victims of sexual abuse will suffer some form of mental repercussions because of assault, these women are just the same. The mental anguish and distress cause from rape cannot be understated, and these women don’t have systemic support or social justice helping them recover, this would especially traumatic because these are men they are supposed to trust. Some women find themselves pregnant with the child of their attacker. It is not uncommon for these women to be shunned from their communities for having mix-raced children, then both the mother and child would be outcasted, creating a second generation of victims (Larson, 2017). Abortion is most likely not an option or safe for many of these women, so they are forced to carry to term and raise the child of the man who assaulted her.It is not unheard of for the women ex-communicated from their communities to seek new relationships with peacekeeping personnel in order for them and their child to survive (Al-Hussein, 2005). There have been thousands of victims so the specifics of each situations are hard to know, many cases go undocumented and therefor unsubstantiated and ultimately not prosecuted.

What the U.N. did

It is important to remember that the U.N. is not a state, and has no legal power over the men and women sent on their missions. The U.N. is not a government and does not have a judicial system. As a response to the crisis, The United Nations published the ‘Ten Rules’ and ‘We Are United Nations’. Each membered country of the U.N is bound by a set of expectation prohibiting sexual misconduct and exploitation (Essa, 2017). The governments of the countries supplying the troops are required to ensure their soldiers are aware of and following the standers laid out by the General-Secretary. It also states a copy of the rules must be provided to every active member in all languages on pocket sized card. Officers and any supporting staff are now required to do a mandatory ‘e-learning module’ on the prevention or reporting any sexual abuse. The idea being that having the rules and regulations directly accessible will help diminish the violence (Al-Hussein, 2005). Violation of these standard result in ‘immediate termination’ from their position in that U.N. assignment (not from the U.N. itself) (UN Affairs, 2018).

The U.N. has acknowledged that there is a problems and has responded by putting in place a series of measure to either prevent, document, and hopefully prosecute rape and sexual abuse in missions. It is developing screening method before deploying personnel on missions. Developing more advanced screening methods before deploying personnel. Providing complaint reception programs encouraging victims and community outreach programs abroad, encouraging women to come forward with any information of misconduct by U.N. officials. They have improved data collection methods to help keep track of the women who come forward (ensuring their file is processed correctly). Requirement for quarterly reporting from member nation with personnel accused. Regular visits from the secretary-general with members of states to hold officers accountable (UN Affairs, 2018). Raising awareness, a zero-tolerance policy, intensive training, outreach programs, data collections, more female-personnel, providing condoms, missions specific measures, and victim assistance have been promised time and time again through multiple U.N. Sectary-Generals (Al-Hussein, 2005) but with minimal actions on their promises, and the numbers staying steady, it is hard to know for sure what the U.N. is doing to prevent sexual misconduct and protect these women (Essa, 2017).

Peacekeepers have immunity from being prosecuted by the host state for crimes they may have committed while stationed on mission, they are however should still be held accountable by the laws of their home state, government, and judicial system. However, the majority of reports from women go un-recorded, and without record of the attack the home-state cannot prosecute the attacker, these men are simply sent home or re-stationed. If a file does manage to make it back to the home-state, there is a six-month window in which the case should be prosecuted during this time. However, during this time the file is generally lost, compromised, dropped, or just ‘forgotten about’. The handling of these very sensitive cases is all taking part on the macrolevel between the U.N.S.C. and the member state. There is a moral conflict on the side of the member state as to whether or not the prosecution of the active peacekeeper is worth damaging the reputation of the U.N.S.C and the state. On the Microlevel, there is still a real person, who may never see justice for the damage done to her, due to the pride of the sovereign state and the U.N.S.C.

Why was this a failure?

“Always, peacekeepers must be protectors, not predators” (Lalbahadur, 2017) The fact that peacekeepers are viewed as predators to the people they serve is a catastrophic failure. Perhaps a bigger failure on the part of the U.N. is the lack of follow through with its member nations on the criminal’s prosecution of offending soldiers (Lalbahadur, 2017). There has only ever been one U.N. peacekeeper, Didier Bourguet, who was prosecuted for sexual abuse while deployed on a U.N. mission, while deployed in the Congo (Einginder, 2018). This low prosecution rate sets a poor example for offices repercussions of their actions could be minimal. The U.N. state that prosecution of legal violations made while in service are to be prosecuted by the judicial system of the home-state. If the home-state does not have laws against sexual misconduct, or if no prosecution is being made in the home-state then there is a human rights violation. The U.N. should have an obligation to ensure that there is action taken by state and consequences for misconduct. If the U.N. is stating that human rights are part of the foundation of its values, then more should be happening to protect women and children affected by peacekeeping officials. The measure promised or put in place are clearly not sufficient to prevent assault and ensure the safety of women.

Conclusion

In 1945 the United Nations Charter set out the ‘equal rights of men and women’, as well as protecting the human rights of women at the heart of the U.N. values. If the U.N. has held the rights of women as a core value of its institution, then why have theses attack not been brought to justice? (OHCHR, 2018)This unchanging reality of the U.N sex abuse scandal continues to plague the reputation of the U.N. The negative impact U.N. peacekeepers have had on the lives of the women affected is despicable. Promises continue to be made in order to prevent attacks from happening, but with minimal action being taken and no foreseeable large change, it is hard to see an end to the U.N. rape crisis. Ultimately the U.N.S.C has failed to be accountable for the actions of its peacekeepers.

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GradesFixer. (2019, November, 26) Sexual Extortion, Rape, And Sexual Abuse From U.N. Officials. Retrived April 9, 2020, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sexual-extortion-rape-and-sexual-abuse-from-u-n-officials/
"Sexual Extortion, Rape, And Sexual Abuse From U.N. Officials." GradesFixer, 26 Nov. 2019, https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sexual-extortion-rape-and-sexual-abuse-from-u-n-officials/. Accessed 9 April 2020.
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GradesFixer. Sexual Extortion, Rape, And Sexual Abuse From U.N. Officials. [Internet]. November 2019. [Accessed April 9, 2020]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sexual-extortion-rape-and-sexual-abuse-from-u-n-officials/
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