US wants UN resolution on peacekeepers accused of sex abuse

The US is preparing a draft Security Council resolution to expel peacekeepers facing sex abuse allegations from UN missions

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The United States is preparing a draft Security Council resolution to expel peacekeepers facing sex abuse allegations from UN missions if no action is taken by their countries to investigate or prosecute them, officials said Friday.

It would mark the first time the Security Council considers a formal measure taking aim at the worrying rise of such claims against peacekeepers.

“The point of our resolution is to send a strong signal that the Security Council will not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping,” said a US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has already ordered the repatriation of troops from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo following such allegations in the Central African Republic.

The draft resolution would endorse Ban’s new policy of expelling peacekeepers and barring countries from peacekeeping if no action is taken to address allegations of such serious crimes.

Under UN rules, it is up to the country that contributes troops to investigate and prosecute those accused of misconduct while serving under the UN flag.

A US official said the Security Council resolution could use “the leverage of repatriation to really get member-states and TCCs (troop-contributing countries) to take this with the utmost seriousness that they should.”

No date has been set to present the new package of measures, but the official said: “We want to move as quickly as we can.”

The United States is the biggest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, funding 28 percent of the UN’s $8.3 billion-budget for such purposes, followed by Japan and France.

Diplomats said the 15-member council was expected to discuss on March 11 a report by Ban that detailed 69 allegations last year against peacekeepers from 21 countries, mostly in Africa.

The 69 allegations represent a “marked increase” from 52 in 2014 and 66 the previous year, said the report obtained by AFP that described the increase as “deeply concerning.”

At least 22 children were sexually abused by peacekeepers, according to the report, but that figure may be higher as the age of the victims was not always determined.

Two UN missions accounted for the majority of claims: the MINUSCA force in the Central African Republic and MINUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But there were also cases in Ivory Coast, Mali and six other missions.

In his report, Ban recommended a six-month limit for investigations, establishing on-site courts martial and setting up a DNA registry of the soldiers.

The US draft text, however, would not include those recommendations.

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