UN peacekeeping has glaring accountability gaps, documents show

UN peacekeeping has glaring accountability gaps, documents show

OTTAWA—The United Nations is grappling with “glaring gaps” in accountability for peacekeepers accused of sexually abusing people they’ve been sent to protect, internal Canadian government documents suggest.The documents show the UN is facing serious hurdles in holding their own peacekeepers to account, including “turf wars” over jurisdiction and “weak (or) non-existent” judicial systems in host countries.The documents raise more questions for Canada, which in recent years has documented five cases of alleged sexual abuse by Canadian peacekeepers in Haiti, and is preparing for a significant new mission in Africa this year. In an August 2016 memo, a security analyst at Canada’s mission to the UN noted significant challenges in investigating and prosecuting wrongdoers. “Events in (the Central African Republic) and the data coming out of the (Secretary General’s 2016) annual report point to a system that is lacking in efficiency, transparency and coherency,” reads the memo obtained by the Star . Article Continued Below“Part of the answer to these deficiencies lies in establishing enduring, system-wide structures but the nature of UN governance makes this a challenging endeavor.”“In addition, as we continue to unpack how member states themselves can better approach this issue from pre-deployment training to punishing perpetrators to victims’ assistance, there must also be a greater willingness by individual countries to examine and address internal shortfalls.” In a special 2016 report, the UN named 21 countries with credible allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by peacekeepers, documenting 69 allegations in 2015 alone. The report named two cases of exploitation and abuse by Canadian police peacekeepers who served in Haiti, although the Canadian government is aware of at least three more cases dating back to 2013.

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