By Ken Karuri, Africa News, March 10, 2017
The United Nations is considering new measures to eradicate growing sexual abuse by its peacekeepers, including freezing payments to the countries of origin of the perpetrators.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday in an annual report that the number of cases of sexual exploitation or abuse involving peacekeepers and civilians employed in UN missions had jumped to 145 in 2016, compared with 99 the previous year.
The increase, according to the report, is explained by the fact that more victims are speaking out. The secretary general said that the reports in 2016 had emanated from 311 people, mainly women and minors.
Mr Guterres suggested retaining funding for countries of origin that would not investigate their accused soldiers deployed in peacekeeping missions within a “reasonable time”.
The funds would then be redirected to a fund for victims.
This measure already exists on an individual basis when an employee is involved. UN officials said at a press conference that US $ 49,000 had already been retained.
Mr. Guterres’ proposal would seek to widen this blocking of funds to a whole contingent when one of its own is accused.
The international organization has been shaken by a wave of accusations of sexual abuse perpetrated by UN peacekeepers deployed on civilian protection missions.
‘Not enough pressure’
Guterres, who assumed command of the UN in January, acknowledged that the organization “continues to face the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse, despite significant efforts over the past several years to address it “.
The largest number of cases have been recorded in four missions: Minusca in the Central African Republic, Monusco in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Minustah in Haiti and Minuss…