September 16, 2019
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Abuse by Peacekeepers

Specialized: United Nations Security Council

Topic: Abuse by Peacekeepers

The United Nations currently has over 100,000 peacekeepers deployed worldwide, participating in 14 separate operations. Peacekeeping operations are called upon not only to maintain peace and security, but also to facilitate the political process, protect civilians, and assist in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants. Peacekeeping missions are also often responsible for supporting the organization of elections, protecting and promoting human rights, and assisting in the restoration of the rule of law. According to the Peacekeeper Standards of Conduct, peacekeepers must “respect local laws, customs and practices, treat host country inhabitants with respect, courtesy and consideration, and act with impartiality, integrity and tact.” Despite this code of conduct, over 2,000 cases of sexual abuse and misconduct have been reported to the UN since 1990.

Abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers is enabled by the peacekeeper’s position of power. Seen as authority figures and as a refuge from unstable conditions in the region, victims will seek peacekeepers for safety. Abusive peacekeepers use scarce resources, such as food and money, to exploit these vulnerable populations. In 2006, peacekeepers in Liberia and Haiti were accused of forcing girls to perform sexual acts in return for food. Eight cases of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers were reported in 2015 in the Central African Republic. Also in 2015, it was reported that over 200 women and underage children had been coerced into sexual acts by peacekeepers in Haiti in exchange for basic necessities like food or money.

Despite several sexual exploitation cases being reported to the UN, out of the 2,000 reported cases of abuse and exploitation over the last 30 years, only 53 uniformed peacekeepers and one civilian have been jailed. It is possible that the current process for handling such cases is partially to blame for this record of inaction. Once reports of abuse by peacekeepers are made to the United Nations, the UN allows the peacekeeper’s home country to assume jurisdiction over the investigation, even though a majority of cases assumed by the home country are dismissed. If the home country defers to the United Nations for investigation, the case is handled by the Office of Internal Oversight Services. Victims are left powerless throughout this drawn-out process, often having no evidence other than their own testimony. With this context in mind, how can the Security Council implement policies to better protect civilians from peacekeeper abuse? What changes to peacekeeper operations, regulations, or reporting policies need to take place to prevent abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers?

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Submitted Position Papers

Country: United States

Committee: United Nations Security Council 

Delegate: Hari Sanil 

Delegation: Troy High School 

Topic: Abuse by Peacekeepers

On behalf of President Donald J. Trump and the American people, the delegation of the United States of America bids warm wishes to all members of the United Nations Security Council. 

Reports of abuse by members of the United Nations peacekeeping forces are of extreme concern to the United States. The U.S. is the largest financial contributor to peacekeeping, having committed over $1.9 billion dollars for peacekeeping operations in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The United States government seeks to ensure that funds appropriated for peacekeeping purposes are spent effectively. To prevent future cases of abuse and bring justice to past offenses, the Security Council should increase oversight and accountability of the United Nations peacekeepers. 

Regarding oversight, the Security Council must enact major reforms to peacekeeping operations. Reducing deployments and cutting expenses are a priority for the United States. In the next fiscal year, we will not contribute to more than 25 percent of the total peacekeeping budget, and this is non-negotiable.

To provide accountability, the United Nations should stamp authority over individuals who serve under our flag. Cases of abuse by peacekeepers should be brought to international courts to deliver proper justice. The United Nations should also hold member states accountable for the actions of the peacekeepers they provide. 

On a final note, the United States of America will make clear to the members of the council that the United Nations has disastrously failed on numerous occasions to protect the citizens of the world. The United Nations Security Council must assert that responsibility and amend the wrongs of the past. 

The American delegation will bring a comprehensive and ambitious reform package to the floor, and we hope for broad support from our fellow member states. Together, we can make peacekeeping great again.

  • United States of America
  • Hari Sanil

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Indonesia recognizes the need for peacekeeping forces in countries.  Further Indonesia recognizes that abuse by peacekeeping forces has been a problem likely since the UN started.  With over 2,000 reported cases of abuse, the problem needs addressing. Peacekeepers, a group that should help, and do good, has become one that abuses power and hurts the people they should be protecting.  Though the problem is complex Indonesia believes that the United Nations Security Council can handle it in a way that respects countries sovereignty. The UN must implement more oversight on the peacekeeping forces and stricter regulations as well.  Further, the United Nations must make the process to report an incident less of a burden on the victim. Finally, the United Nations, should work with countries to determine what they believe to be the proper way to punish any peacekeepers found of these heinous acts.  The UN must respect the country’s laws and right to sovereignty. With these changes implemented Indonesia believes that the peacekeeping forces can once again do the good they were intended to do. We must work tirelessly to restore the faith of countries in the United Nations Peacekeepers.  If a country can’t trust those that are supposed to help, how can they help?       

  • Indonesia
  • JD Lancaster

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Abuse by United Nations Peacekeepers is a problem, there are over 2,000 reported cases of abuse, however, only 53 peacekeepers have been jailed for their actions.  The U.N. mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo has consistently had many allegations concerning sexual abuse, and other forms of abuse. This abuse by peacekeepers creates many different forms of social and economic problems.  Many women raped by U.N. peacekeepers become pregnant, this in turn can devastate a family due to them not being able to feed the child due to their financial situation, and a social problem due to the family being a single mother from a foreigner.  Unfortunate women raped by United Nations peacekeepers also may be rejected by their family, ostracized by their village, and possibly help spread STD’s. Although there are only 2,000 reported cases of abuse, there is a high chance there are many more due to citizens being afraid to accuse a United Nations Peacekeeper of foul play, a recent estimate shows that 60,000 cases is a high possibility.

 

China contributes the second most financially to all United Nations Peacekeeping missions, it is important, not just for China, to ensure that all U.N. Peacekeepers are there to help citizens of the country, and will not use their power to take advantage of the people they are there to help. China is the 12th highest contributor of peacekeeping forces with 2,634 active personnel, these personnel are mostly contingent troop placements.  China has also trained 8,000 soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army of China specialization for U.N. Peacekeeping missions. The Chinese government has been pressuring the United Nations for a downsizing of the amount of UN peacekeeping forces dedicated to the protection of human rights and to the defense against sexual abuse. The Chinese government believes that the use of peacekeeping forces to protect against sexual abuse and human rights is outside the scope of U.N. Peacekeeping missions.  

 

In order to help stop any new allegations against the United Nations from peacekeeping forces, it is recommended that the U.N. peacekeeping force emphasizes the need to stop conflict, and de-prioritize peacekeeping forces that garrison a country for humanitarian reasons and forces that police a country.  Any country that has an active conflict/war should receive priority for peacekeeping forces. While it may not stop all accusations of sexual misconduct, having fewer personnel in the area will greatly reduce the chance of a new allegation. The Chinese government also recognizes that national sovereignty is a very important principle that must be upheld, even for countries voluntarily lending use of their military personnel.  The right to prosecute any person accused of abusing their powers on a peacekeeping force should remain with the country from where they came. China also recognizes that the need to find justice for those that have been accused. It is recommended that, if the mother country does not set a trial, then the United Nations International Court of Justice will set a date for a UN sanctioned court date.    

  • People's Republic of China
  • Spencer Peters

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Country: Côte D’ivoire

Committee: Security Council

Topic: Abuse by Peacekeepers

Delegate: Jasmine Jacobs

School: Kalamazoo Central High School

There are over 300,000 Peacekeepers all over the world, normally that would be a positive thing. However Peacekeepers are abusing their power, they are forcing women and children to sacrifice their dignity and humility for basic essentials for life survival. The United Nations has deployed Peacekeepers in countries around the world in hopes of saving innocent lives from cruel acts of violence, but the corrupt few are bringing more violence. Over 600 women and children have accused Peacekeepers of sexually abusing them and that’s just the ones the UN knows of.Unfortunately in cote D’ivoire we are not strangers to violence, we have numerous terrorist groups and extreme political tension. Côte d’Ivoire is one of the countries with the largest  UN Peacekeeping mission.The United Nations Peacekeepers helped build a more unified country, but they also brought great sorrow. The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) is taking all possibile action to investigate accusations of sexual abuse and exploitation within its military, some dating back to 2006. The United Nations has a zero tolerance policy, part of the policy bannes all Peacekeepers from having sexual relations with locals they also attend traning seminars for code of conduced. 

 

Peacekeepers have multiple categories like military, police and international civilian, each category has a different immunity level. Peacekeepers use their immunity to get away with heinous and immoral acts, it acts as their shield. Their immunity or “shield” creates an environment where they think it is okay to act in such horrific manors.Some Peacekeepers have functional immunity and some have full immunity. Functional Immunity protects them while they are on duty but does not protect them while off duty.Peacekeepers immunity can be waived which means that the state they are deployed in can investigate, prosecute and punish should the need arise.

Both the UN and the UNOCI are trying to put an end to the stigma that peacekeepers can do whatever they want regardless of who they hurt.The UN investigations the situation before determining if functional immunity applies to the situations, the problem with that is the UN fails to find any or enough evidence, fortunately the UNIFIL decision might put an end to that. The decision would make the UN immediately give the accused to the local police and or authorities.

 

Cote D’ivoire strongly believes that the UN needs to put an end to the direct abuse of power made by the peacekeepers by letting the country that the accused is currently staying in to have the right to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

 

  • Côte D’ivoire
  • Jasmine Jacobs

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Committee: Security Council

Topic: Abuse by Peacekeepers

Country: The United Kingdom

Delegate: Will Lacey, Mattawan High School

 

Conceptually, the United Nations peacekeepers are a tremendous boon to the world. They hold up the most pure ideals, and serve as a protective and guiding beacon to all. In practice, this is almost true. The UN peacekeepers have proved critical in assisting many nations worldwide, yet there are some issues regarding the abuse of power. Sexual exploitation is a major issue, as well as other forms of abuse and coercion. Of course, only a minority of the peacekeepers stoop to such levels, but we must strive to eliminate that minority completely. 

The United Kingdom is whole-heartedly in support of the United Nations peacekeepers. While the issue of abuse by peacekeepers is quite complex, creating a solution is paramount to maintaining the credibility of and trust towards the peacekeepers. Of course, we have already taken some steps towards this goal, and have several measures in mind to continue to help eliminate the issue. 

 

Primarily, the effectiveness and efficiency of the peacekeepers needs to be improved. Protecting the citizens and peacekeepers from outside threats is a necessity. We must ensure that the peacekeepers can properly defend those they are sent to protect. In order to achieve this, we must invest in and improve out force generation process. Regarding abuse by peacekeepers, we support mandatory e-learning pre-deployment training for the peacekeepers. This will prepare them to recognize, respond to, and prevent abuse, coercion, and sexual exploitation. In addition, the “smart pledging” coordinated response system should be expanded to include protection and support for victims, among other issues. The United Kingdom regrets the misconduct of the peacekeepers, and looks forward to the time when it is eliminated and peacekeepers stand as a true physical representation of their ideals.

  • United Kingdom
  • William Lacey

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Committee: Security Council

Country: The French Republic

Topic: Abuse by Peacekeepers 

Delegate: Robert Janes, East Grand Rapids

The UN peacekeepers have been instrumental in keeping peace across the world since 1956, and for the most part have done good jobs in every operation. However, while most of the time the job is done professionally and without any hiccups, there have been instances where peacekeepers abuse their power. Peacekeepers from a variety of nations have been accused of abusing their powers and committing crimes such as sexual assault and exploitation, and there have been many instances when this invovles minors. This gross abuse of power displayed by Peacekeepers is antithesis to the central theme of the UN, and action needs to be taken to prevent future misconduct by peacekeepers, as well as making sure any past actions are reprimanded.

The accountability that most peacekeepers face for their actions while on various operations is very minimal. France itself is aware of the complexity of the international justice system, and has found it difficult to give justice to peacekeepers who are accused of misconduct fairly and in an efficient manner. The lack of accountability peacekeepers face is largely due to any form of oversight during peacekeeper operations. The delegate from France would like to see an increase in oversight on peacekeepers while serving in various countries, which could be implemented through the creation of an oversight committee responsible for holding accused peacekeepers accountable while still on peacekeeping missions. A large reason for the lack of reprimanding of accused peacekeepers is the time in between the end of a mission and the crimes being reported, making investigations hard to carry out. France would like to see a creation of said committee to both help in preventing misconduct by peacekeepers while on missions, and also increasing the ease at which misconduct can be reported and dealt with by the countries in which the peacekeepers reside.

 

  • France
  • Robert Janes

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Committee: Security Council

Topic: Abuse by Peacekeepers

Country: The Republic of Peru

Delegate: William Mathias, Forest Hills Northern

 

The UN peacekeepers were created for the purpose of protecting citizens, facilitating the establishment of the rule of law, and creating conditions for lasting peace. Despite this intention, over the past thirty years, the UN has received more than 2,000 reports of peacekeepers sexually abusing and exploiting inhabitants of their host country. To make matters worse, the system of criminal justice can be very inefficient. For instance, only 53 peacekeepers have been jailed, while many offenders go off without being properly prosecuted.

The Republic of Peru currently deploys 393 uniformed peacekeepers and has supported UN peacekeeping operations for nearly 70 years, contributing about 8,000 “blue-helmets” throughout its history of involvement. The Republic of Peru has a deep respect for the office of peacekeeper and as such, is offended when this honorable title is disgraced by officers that abuse their authority and are not justifiably prosecuted. To restore honor to the UN peacekeepers, we must reform the criminal proceedings.

 When considering what needs to be accomplished at this upcoming conference, it’s important to look at resolutions that the Security Council has already passed. Like many member states, the Republic of Peru voted to pass Resolution 2272 back in 2016 to demonstrate its recognition of the severity of the issue and its support for establishing a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers. Although this resolution was a good step forward, this is still a very prevalent problem as reports of abuse haven’t stopped, and many perpetrators still aren’t being properly tried.

 

The Republic of Peru has nothing but respect for the brave men and women who serve as UN peacekeepers, but the current institutional operations are facilitating and contributing to abuse. It is the duty of the Security Council to take reports of misconduct seriously, provide protection to the most vulnerable people, and restore the people’s trust in the UN peacekeepers, and by extension, the UN as a whole. At this conference, the Republic of Peru looks forward to working with all member states to address this issue by expanding or reforming Resolution 2272 and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for abuse, among other potential solutions.

 

  • Peru
  • William Mathias

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The UN Peacekeeper has long been instrumental to maintaining the global order of security and cooperation outlined in the charter of these United Nations, being a key factor in the retention and restoration of peace in matters such as the 1948 truce between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the Suez Crisis of 1956, and the Rwandan Civil war of the early 1990s. The Security Council especially has relied on the peacekeeper, as we are the only committee with the power to deploy them; but, as the old adage goes, “With great power comes great responsibility,” so we now meet to see what responsibility we have in developments regarding the decorum of our peacekeepers. 

 

            The figure of 2,000 incidents of peacekeeper sexual misconduct reported since 1990 is an alarming one, but more alarming still is the figure of only 53 of these incidents resulting in disciplinary action. This is simply unacceptable for both for our reputation and our legitimacy as the supervisory body for international relations. How are we to enforce the humanitarian morals outlined in our charter and the Peacekeeper Standards of Conduct if we cannot expect our own men to be held to these same morals? It is clear that we have only our past oversight to blame, and that now it falls in our hands as the security council to fix this serious problem. 

 

            The Federal Republic of Germany currently has peacekeepers deployed in 9 UNSC missions on 4 continents, among them Lebanon (UNIFIL), Kosovo (UNMIK), and the Western Sahara (MINURSO), The Federal Republic of Germany contributes 6.389 percent of the UN Peacekeeping budget, so our stake in this matter is no small one and it is of our utmost interest that this problem be solved as efficiently as possible. The first issue we must address is that of our procedure in dealing with matters of this nature. It is the belief of the Federal Republic of Germany that we must amend this process by sending all reports to the Office of Internal Oversight Services initially, and following their investigation, to the nation of the peacekeeper in question. Following an OIOS investigation, the power shall fall on the leading body of the peacekeeping mission to dismiss the offending officer if they are found guilty, and then onto the nation of the offending officer to administer any legal consequences it deems necessary. 

 

            Similarly, the UN Security Council should attempt to make the system of reporting peacekeeper abuse easier for those affected. We fear that the already high count of 2,000 reported cases may be a low estimate and would appreciate the ability to report an incident of sexual misconduct to be more advertised than it currently is. The Federal Republic of Germany is confident that if we will consider its proposals if we are committed to stopping this serious issue and looks forward to collaborating with the other members of this Security Council to put an end to peacekeeper sexual misconduct.

 

  • Federal Republic of Germany
  • Alex Calderwood

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UN peacekeepers are deployed across the world to ensure the security of citizens and their human rights in the most unstable regions of the world. The international community entrusts these brave men and women with immense amounts of power and authority to protect these people and prevent conflict. Unfortunately, the UN has not properly addressed the abuse of power by many peacekeepers in many parts of the world. The UN has reported several allegations of sexual exploitation across multiple peacekeeping missions. Despite the UN stating that over 2000 cases of sexual abuses have been reported since 1990, very little action has been taken. Dozens of accusations of sexual abuse are reported yearly to the UN and this issue sees no sign of stopping without strong UN action.

 

The United Nations has made attempts in the past to pass a comprehensive resolution to end the sexual violence and exploitation perpetrated by peacekeepers. On March 11th, 2016 the Security Council passed Resolution 2272 on the sexual abuses by peacekeepers. This resolution has proven to have reduced rates of sexual abuse reports but there is still much work to be done as sexual abuse crimes are still being reported to the UN in staggering numbers and justice has not been brought to the accused.

 

Equatorial Guinea is concerned with its interests across the world in making sure that fundamental human rights are respected and those who do not respect them are rightfully brought to justice. Half of the world’s 14 peacekeeping missions are in Africa. Equatorial Guinea’s position on Pan-Africanism and the importance of our friendship and shared identity with the nations of Africa especially concerns the nation of Equatorial Guinea as it is our right as members of the African Union that our fellow Africans are treated in a way that ensures the maintenance and integrity of their human rights. Equatorial Guinea was elected into its position in the Security Council to represent its interests as well as the interests of the African Union. Equatorial Guinea is committed to ensuring that abuses by peacekeepers are no longer met with inaction.

 

Equatorial Guinea would like to see a resolution passed that adds to the previously passed Resolution 2272 that protects the civilians of areas where peacekeepers are deployed. The nation of Equatorial Guinea will ensure that the perpetrators of these blatant crimes against the civilians, who are supposed to be protecting, are properly brought to justice. The inaction by the international community is appalling and the Security Council must ensure that this issue is resolved.

 

   

 

  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Arjun Singh

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The Russian Federation deeply acknowledges the terrible acts that have been committed by peacekeepers in a position of power over citizens. This pressing issue is not new, and has unfortunately laid its roots across the world. In combating this issue, legislation reform must take place in order to ensure safety and dismiss malintent peacekeepers, such reform must include consideration of the Human Rights jobs and their roles in abuse. The number of human rights jobs in the United Nations must be diminished to see an advancement in protection. 

The United Nations is exceeding the necessary amount of Peacekeepers deployed in the first place, along with numerous other human rights jobs in the United Nations. By reducing the amount of peacekeepers deployed, while still retaining jurisdiction of accused peacekeepers violating conduct to their respective home country, progress will be achieved. The Russian Federation has taken its stance numerous time in the United Nations that its beliefs are not that human rights jobs are unnecessary, but that we are spending an exceeding amount of jobs that could be easily reduced and easily controlled. 

 

  • Russian Federation
  • Matt Catchick

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Committee: Security Council

Topic: Abuse by Peacekeepers

Country: Kuwait

While the UN Peacekeepers have a duty to maintain peace and security, assist the political process, and protect civilians, there have been multiple reports of sexual abuse and misconduct in the last 20 years. Despite the increasing number of reports, only 53 people in uniform and 1 person out of uniform have been jailed. Though peacekeepers agree to a standards of conduct (which states that peacekeepers must “respect local laws, customs and practices, treat host country inhabitants with respect, courtesy and consideration, and act with impartiality, integrity and tact.”), its implementation is not being used effectively. The abusive peacekeepers are using the resources of the country’s inhabitants as exploitation. The countries they are in are already in a vulnerable state, and peacekeepers are simply making this worse.

Kuwait firmly believes in the necessity of UN Peacekeepers. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in the 1990s, peacekeepers were instrumental in the reparation of Kuwait’s society. UN spending equalled $600 million on the border of Kuwait and Iraq for the situation with peacekeepers. Despite this, Kuwait recognizes the urgency and concern of this problem. Kuwait does not see this problem as a direct action of the United Nations, but rather as a “call-to-action” for other nations. Kuwait sees these actions as a direct violation of terrorism and violent extremism. Other nations should begin to recognize sexual violence as this kind of act, and not rely on the United Nations to infringe upon their national sovereignty.

 

Kuwait, as previously stated, is deeply concerned with the abuse by UN Peacekeepers. Moreover, the United Nations prides itself on promoting international wellbeing, they have failed and are continuing to fail on protecting the world from abuse by peacekeepers. However, the sensitivity of conditions of peacekeepers is not something to be overlooked; the effectiveness of a peacekeeping mission is somewhat dependent on the conditions of the area, and variables like climate change, immigration, and displacement can interfere with the overall success of the United Nations. Kuwait believes that the council must take swift action, not only to properly convict abusive peacekeepers, but to also address the nature of peacekeeping organizations. Reform, which obviously needs to take place, starts with clearing up the definitions of meaningful mandates. The Security Council needs to begin with clearing up the mission of UN Peacekeepers, and start delving into more specifics on their role in global peace.

  • Kuwait
  • Katherine Sundeen

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Forest Hills Central

Dominican Republic

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.

  • Dominican Republic
  • Alex Shier

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Committee: Security Council

Topic: Abuse by Peacekeepers

Country: Poland

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.

  • Poland
  • Jane Swartz

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