Sexual harassment by UN soldiers
Open Letter to the United Nations
For years there are reports about attacks by UN soldiers and personal on the civilian population during so-called “peace missions” in several countries.
Especially in the case of sexual harassment more and more reports reach the public and are confirmed and investigated by the UN leadership.
Despite the insurance of the UN leadership, that they will investigate these incidents and take disciplinary actions, the cases are continuing. Only the tip of the ice-berg has been discovered by the UN officials according to eye witnesses.
Lately it is not just about sexual action of individuals, but it is clear that groups of soldier rape women and children.
In this way, in the countries where the civilian population was already widely exposed to the use of sexual violence by local soldiers and militias now the “protectors” violate the last remaining self-esteem, the last self-respect of the victims.
Such behaviour cannot and must not be tolerated and it is time now to implement independent “observers” to UN contingents in various crisis regions who will have to ensure the protection of the civilian populations concerning these assaults.
These observers can according to the experience to date, however, no longer be employees of the UN itself, but should be composed of independent civil society representatives.
Therefore, FOCUS INTERNATIONAL urges all those who are responsible in the governing bodies of the UN to address this matter as soon as possible, so that the already heavily tarnished image of the organization does not end in chaos and to come together with representatives of civil society to find a sustainable solution.
The victims should also receive immediate assistance. Psychological and financial support is the minimum that is appropriate in such a situation.
Perpetrators should also be handed over immediately for criminal justice, ensuring the law and justice and the respect of human rights. Optionally, the commanders of the forces must be held accountable, as in the case of Mr Bemba the International Criminal Court (ICC) has recently set an example.
The implicit acceptance of these crimes must stop now. There can be no amnesty for crimes against humanity under a UN mandate.
List of cases of sexual abuse
by UN personal in the different missions
(Source: UN IOIS)
MINUSCA = Central African Republic
MINUSTAH = Haiti
MONUC & MONUSCO = DR Congo
UNMIL = Liberia
UNMIS = Sudan
UNMISS = South Sudan