Committee: Security Council
Topic: Abuse by Peacekeepers
Peacekeepers’ main goal, according to the United Nations Peacekeeping website, is to promote safety and security, along with protecting civilians and human rights. Despite this, and their code of conduct, over 2,000 cases of sexual abuse have been reported to the UN, of which less than 3% have led to consequences for those involved. According to studies done by RAINN.org (located in the United States), only 230 out of 1,000 sexual assault cases are reported. While this is not applicable worldwide, if this is applied to the current number of reported cases involving peacekeepers, there could be upwards of 8,000 assaults that go unreported due to fear. The Republic of Poland’s worry is that the issue may be much bigger than just the numbers that are available. A major ground for exploitation is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where just under ½ of the reported cases occur. All of the current peacekeeping operations are in third world countries where resources to report these abuses of power are lacking, if existing at all. Girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who were raped recall not being aware there was a way to report it, leaving no evidence the exploitation happened. To look at the past seventy years of peacekeeping, nearly 42% of missions have been to Africa alone, where progress towards Western standards of development is, in a word, slow. Sexual abuse by peacekeepers disproportionately affects women and girls in third world countries, the civilians who are in need of their protection the most.
At its heart, peacekeeping is a useful tool in countries that are in need of structure and assistance to continue to function. However, with the staggering numbers of those employed to protect using their power to exploit people for sexual acts in exchange for human needs, the delegate of Poland sees an urgent need for reform of the standards at which peacekeepers are held to and the enforcement of the rules by which they should follow during their deployment. Poland believes that, while it is not primarily the UN’s fault that so little cases are met with consequences, the allowance of peacekeepers accused of sexual abuse to be tried in their own countries is a downfall of the system and leaves much to be desired. The delegate representing Poland suggests a reworking of the rules designating who is to be in control of the investigations into reports of sexual assault, possibly giving it completely to a body of the United Nations. As well as this, Poland would like to see the availability of legal support and access to report abuses for the civilians affected by the deployment of peacekeepers in their local areas. This would allow for transparency in the process in which the peacekeepers are put onto trial and higher standards due to the likelihood of their conviction. This will also promote safety and security among the local communities.
Poland believes that the security of the civilians of which peacekeepers are put forth to protect is more important than the legal proceedings of countries concerning their citizens who have committed these acts while employed under UN authority, and supports the need for a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual exploitation and abuse.
- Jane Swartz