UN panel on peacekeeping operations recommends stringent measures against sexual abuse

United Nations: A high-level panel on peacekeeping operations has recommended stringent measures to combat allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against peacekeepers, saying "immunity must not mean impunity".

UN panel on peacekeeping operations recommends stringent measures against sexual abuse

Representational image. Reuters

The High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, established by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in October last year, submitted its report to the UN Chief yesterday.

The 14-member panel is chaired by Nobel laureate and journalist Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste and includes retired Lieutenant General Abhijit Guha of India.

The review included visits to Tokyo, Islamabad, New Delhi, Washington DC, Paris, London, Helsinki, Moscow, Beijing and Kigali as well as UN peace operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Senegal.

The panel made sweeping recommendations to overhaul the UN peacekeeping operations that are constantly working in extremely hostile environments and their troops have been facing allegations of sexual abuse and rape.

On addressing abuse and enhancing accountability, the panel said that "immunity must not mean impunity" and "immunity was never intended and does not apply to provide immunity from prosecution to UN personnel alleged to have committed sexual exploitation and abuse."

It recommended that information on disciplinary actions taken by contributing countries should be disclosed, including information on non-reporting.

It also called for "immediate and robust" implementation of the Secretary-General's proposed measures, including establishment of immediate response teams and six-month deadlines to complete investigations.

On the use of force, it said in the absence of a peace to keep, "peacekeepers are increasingly asked to manage conflict. A rethink of capabilities and concepts is needed, to support these conflict management missions."

Strongly recommending that the UN should not engage in military counter-terrorism operations, the panel argued that extreme caution must guide any call for a UN peacekeeping operation to undertake enforcement tasks.

"The UN peacekeeping principles remain an essential guide for success; they must be interpreted flexibly in light of changed circumstances, and not be used as a shield for inaction," the panel said.

The chair of the panel said focus on political solutions, responsive and flexible operations, stronger partnerships and field-focused and people-centered mandates are the essential shifts the UN must urgently address as it faces challenging new landscapes in peacekeeping and conflict prevention.

The new survey is being made public 15 years after the release of the groundbreaking Brahimi Report, named after long-time UN adviser and renowned Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi who chaired a similar high-level panel convened by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"We will be leading the implementation phase from my Office, with the close participation of all the key departments," the UN chief said.

PTI

Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.

Updated Date: Jun 17, 2015 12:34:28 IST

Also See