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UN has better mechanism to deal with cases of sexual abuse by its troops: Lacroix

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The United Nations now has a better mechanism to deal with instances of sexual exploitation by its peacekeeping forces, a top UN diplomat said today, adding that such instances undermine the work done by the intergovernmental organisation.
Speaking at an event here, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, also highlighted the rising fatalities among the UN peacekeeping forces.
He said the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

(UNPKO) lost 61 personnel last year, "largest in decades".
On the instances of sexual exploitation by UN troops, Lacroix said, "This is really something that massively undermines peacekeeping for a number of years. That image, the perception of peacekeepers is unfortunately associated with these despicable acts".
He said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has taken up these issues at the highest level and the UNPKO now has a better mechanism to deal with such cases.
Many contingents have their national investigation teams either ready to go whenever there are reports of exploitation or embedded in some missions, he said.
"We also have a system whereby you can report allegation anonymously even if you are out of the system. We are much better off in terms of awareness on conduct and discipline. The reactivity of the member states is much quicker than it used to be," Lacroix said.
"We have seen strong sanctions against perpetrators. We also took responsibility and some of the units have been repatriated--the whole unit or dozens of peacekeepers-- because of the allegations," the UN official said.
The diplomat also highlighted the dangers faced by the UN peacekeeping forces.
"This is because we are facing new types of threats and challenges...the groups in most cases are not very politically motivated. Some of them are ideologically motivated like extremists, terrorists, some of them are into the business of illegal activities like exploitation of natural resources or trafficking," he said.
Lacroix said the global body, however, has drawn an action plan to reduce the fatalities.
He also described India as a major stakeholder in the UN peacekeeping mission.
India is among the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions with 6,712 Indian personnel currently deployed in about nine peacekeeping missions. The highest number of personnel, 2,928, is deployed with the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

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First Published: Jun 28 2018 | 10:10 PM IST

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