Forest Hills Central
Security Council: Abuse by Peacekeepers
The Dominican Republic is extremely proud to be part of this United Nations, but one of the hallmarks of this international system our ability to be called out on where we are going wrong, and fix it effectively. One major stain on the UN’s international image is abuse by peacekeepers. Despite the UN’s “zero tolerance” policy against peacekeepers who take advantage of those they are supposed to protect, cases of abuse have been on the rise. In 2016 alone, there were 145 reported cases of sexual exploitation, up from 99 in 2015. Major controversies involving abuse since 1990 have occurred in at least six different states, including the Dominican Republic’s neighbor: Haiti. There are seldom greater injustices than when a person who has been entrusted with the power to help those who need it, deprive those who do not comply with their sick demands. This council must stop this. This council must act.
Before one considers what should be done, one must look at what has been done, to determine what has worked, and what hasn’t. This topic was tackled by the Security Council in 2000, which subsequently resulted in the Brahimi Resolution and the DPKO Capstone Doctrine. Both of these attempted to make small, incremental shifts in peacekeeper policy, such as new rules on the use of force in the DPKO in an attempt to boost peacekeeper credibility, but no major structural changes were made. The results of these reforms are clear. Not only did they fail to stymie the flow of allegations, but such instances of sexual exploitation have actually risen in the last few years. The Dominican Republic believes that changes to the legal processes through which these cases are processed are necessary for meaningful change. One major issue is that peacekeepers are usually tried by their home country, which as the world has unfortunately seen, leads to a lack of accountability, and too often, injustice. This can be fixed by announcing that it is now the responsibility of the UN to investigate and try peacekeepers in crimes committed while peacekeeping. In order to become a peacekeeper, the Dominican Republic believes that one must relinquish their right to be tried in their home country for any crime committed while in service and deployed overseas. Another possible solution stems from the peacekeeper’s place of ultimate power. Many civilians are taken advantage of solely because they need something only the peacekeeper has. The Dominican Republic believes that responsibility for the protection of civilians and the distribution of aid should be broken into two, with the latter being conducted by forces other than peacekeepers, perhaps by UN aid workers or volunteer forces. By delegating tasks more evenly, it maintains the peacekeeper’s role, which is precisely that, while reducing their exploitative powers over civilians.
No matter which way one slices it, the fact cannot be ignored. Abusive peacekeepers are not just a few bad apples, but rather a symptom of legal oversight. To fix this, the Dominican Republic believes that this council must take action. We believe that any resolution passed by this committee should require peacekeepers to agree to be tried by the UN to be determined crimes instead of their home country. This, along with the delegation of distributive tasks to non-peacekeeper forces will not only alleviate legal loopholes but discourage future bad behavior. Though this is only the beginning of our fight against this injustice, the Dominican Republic believes that these objectives are a step in the right direction.
- Alex Shier