[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] Tuesday promised to step up efforts to combat child exploitation and sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by UN peacekeeping forces. In a short statement [text] released by his spokesperson, Ban expressed his concern over recent allegations of misconduct. The statement read, in part:
The United Nations is committed to training and monitoring our civilian staff and working with our troop and police contributing countries to ensure that all categories of United Nations personnel are both trained in - and are accountable for - the highest standards of conduct.The UN News Centre has more.
As pointed out in the report, the United Nations has already undertaken a series of measures designed to tackle this problem directly, from establishing Conduct and Discipline Units in all of our Missions to strengthening our training regimes for all categories of UN personnel. We are determined to redouble our efforts in this regard and to work with all of our partners to implement fully our policy of zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel.
The United Nations will continue to depend on the active efforts of its troop and police contributing countries in investigating and disciplining their national personnel found to have committed misconduct, including acts of sexual exploitation and abuse while serving in UN operations.
Ban's comments come in response to a report [PDF text; press release] released Tuesday by Save the Children UK [advocacy website], which detailed allegations that UN peacekeeping forces had engaged in the abuse, including rape, prostitution, sexual assault, slavery and trafficking, of children in conflict areas such as Haiti, Ivory Coast, and Sudan [JURIST news archives]. The report also found allegations of such abuse by other UN bodies and NGOs, but most accusations concerned peacekeeping forces operating under the direction of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations [official website]. BBC News has more.