v16_2005i - Making Peace Preventing and Responding to...

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167 Making Peace: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Exploitation by United Nations Peacekeepers 7 8 Sarah W. Spencer is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University ([email protected]). M AKING P EACE : P REVENTING AND R ESPONDING TO S EXUAL E XPLOITATION BY U NITED N ATIONS P EACEKEEPERS Sarah W. Spencer To help establish and maintain peace and security around the world, the UN is currently managing sixteen peacekeeping missions. Instead of affording protection to civilians impacted by armed conflict, however, some UN peacekeepers use their positions of power to sexually exploit and abuse women and children. This article examines current UN policies and procedures to address sexual exploitation perpetrated by UN peacekeepers in sub-Saharan African peacekeeping missions. Ending sexual exploitation requires leadership at all levels and a serious commitment of financial and human resources. UN policies and procedures must be drastically improved if they are to adequately address and eradicate sexual exploitation within peacekeeping missions. “If I go and see the soldiers at night and sleep with them then they sometimes give me food, maybe a banana or a cake. I have to do it with them because there is nobody to care, nobody else to protect Joseph except me. He is all I have and I must look after him.” 13-year-old internally displaced girl in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Holt 2004) The Belgians [in MONUC] won’t touch anything over 14.” Former MONUC employee (2004)
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168 Sarah W. Spencer Armed conflict is currently devastating more than twenty-five countries around the world. To help to “alleviate human suffering, and create condi- tions and build institutions for self-sustaining peace,” the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) directs UN peacekeep- ing operations around the world mandated by the UN Security Council (United Nations Department of Public Information 2005). UN Member States have contributed troops to peacekeeping missions in places such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Instead of providing security and protection to civilians impacted by armed conflict, however, some peacekeepers use their positions of power to sexually exploit and abuse women and children. This paper seeks to analyze and make recommendations for the improve- ment of current UN policies and procedures to address sexual exploitation perpetrated by UN peacekeepers in sub-Saharan African peacekeeping mis- sions. Though exploitation is committed by a wide variety of humanitarian aid workers, including UN civilian staff, non-governmental organization (NGO) workers, and others in positions of power, this paper focuses pri- marily on military troops within UN peacekeeping missions, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, as most human and material resources are dedicated to peacekeeping missions there. Currently, the UN manages sixteen peacekeeping missions around the world; the seven missions in
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