In March, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2272 in response to ongoing revelations that French and west-African peacekeepers raped and sexually exploited civilians they were deployed to protect in the Central African Republic. The Resolution endorses a proposal by the Secretary General to return home the peacekeeping contingent of a country whose peacekeepers sexually abuse civilians.
Hold your applause.
The problem of predatory peacekeepers is decades old, having plagued operations in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Cambodia, Haiti, the DRC, and Liberia – to name just a few countries. More than a thousand accusations have surfaced since 2007 alone. It’s easy then, to shrug off the Resolution as a last-minute attempt to restore the UN’s damaged reputation – at least until it delivers concrete results.
And whether that will happen, is doubtful. The Secretary General is in the process of formulating the procedures that would trigger repatriation, but the individuals he chose to lead that effort are the same high-ranking UN officials, as described by the Code Blue campaign, whose “negligence, indifference and subsequent cover-ups compounded the horrors” in CAR.
The Code Blue campaign is a special project of Aids-Free World, the advocacy group that uncovered the scandal in CAR. The group derides the current proposal as “the fox guarding the hen house,” and calls for an independent oversight board that reports directly to member states and operates entirely separate from the UN. Nothing in the current proposal, they say, “suggests the kind of change that needs to happen, to extirpate peacekeeping sexual abuse, once and for all.”
The potential for corruption and mismanagement may be the most problematic concern with Resolution 2272, but it’s not the only one. Let’s take a look at some additional problems, Continue reading “Predatory Peacekeepers: The UN’s Failed Response to Rape and Sexual Exploitation in CAR”