Michael Fallon, the British Defense Minister, has come down heavily on sexual exploitation carried out by United Nations Peacekeepers. He made it during his speech at an United Nations conference. The meeting was held on matters of improvement of participating troop performance. Other than Britain, defense ministers of 80 countries from all around the world attended the meeting. The list included Ash Carter, the US Defense Secretary.
Defense Secretary Carter said that the Pentagon could help as it had prior experience in ridding the US army from the danger of sexual assault. It is open to help the National Investigative Officers of the UN. It could also help in improving the training so that sexual exploitation and abuse by a few peacekeeping troops can be prevented.
Human Rights Watch has informed that UN Peacekeepers have raped civilians in a number of countries where the force operates, including Central African Republic. About 480 allegations of abuse and sexual exploitation by UN forces were recorded in the time from 2008 to 2013. About 102 allegations were made against peacekeeping troops in Haiti from 2007.
It is a sad story when peacekeepers hurt those citizens they were assigned to protect. The victims also do not get much justice or support. Only those nations which contribute troops have the power to prosecute their own armies. It is observed that convictions and prosecutions are painfully rare. Information relating to disciplinary status is extremely hard to get. It is found that troops were disciplined in 10 instances only. It is recommended hat much more must be done to prevent abuses.
Fallon recommended that the UN must improve its planning related to peacekeeping activities and get further troop contributions. Their performance must also be improved, citing a number of poor performances by the peacekeepers. The British minister did not elaborate on the details but said that he was referring to sexual exploitation and abuse by a few peacekeeping troops.
General Ban Ki-moon promised a number of reforms after a critical independent report cited a number of UN failures in handling abuse by peacekeepers. To give an example, a number of peacekeepers in Central African Republic were sent back to their home countries under shadow of abuse allegation. Both the UN and the participating country have started investigations. Prosecutions of a few peacekeepers hailing from Democratic Republic of Congo were done. No convictions were achieved.