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UN plans to combat sexual abuse with 'no excuses' cards for troops

02 September 2016, 16:33

United Nations – The United Nations will begin providing peacekeeping troops with 'no excuses' cards as part of a wider effort to combat sexual abuse in the organisation's international stabilisation operations, an official said on Thursday.

Jane Holl Lute, special coordinator on improving the UN response to sexual exploitation and abuse, said the cards would make very clear the organisation's standards of behaviour during deployment.

"The whole point of the 'no excuses' card is to look at every angle of our operation and say 'how can we strengthen ourselves against the possibility that these acts can occur?'" Lute said. "We want everybody to be clear what's expected of them."

Other measures being introduced include mandatory training for troops and commanders before they deploy and increased vetting to keep individuals with prior histories of sexual abuse from partaking in peacekeeping operations.

Improving accountability

Because the UN does not have its own army, but relies on member states to provide soldiers and police for stabilisation operations, each troop-contributing country is responsible for investigating and prosecuting infractions committed within their contingents.

To improve accountability, the UN is also working to standardise norms for reporting and dealing with cases where peacekeepers are implicated in sexual abuse, according to a report on the UN's efforts to combat sexual abuse.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also considering the establishment of an additional investigative body to address concerns with respect to the preservation of evidence and to ensure a victim-centred approach during investigations, the report said.

A trust fund has also been established to support victim services that will be used to provide essential services, such as medical, psychological and legal services, to victims, according to the report.

The UN has long faced allegations of sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, especially those based in Central African Republic and Congo. The UN says there were 69 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers in 2015.

- AP


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