Security Council honorably acts against sexual exploitation by United Nations peacekeepers

12 Mar

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

The United Nations Security Council Friday adopted United States-sponsored resolution 2272 (2016) aiming to end sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers.

UNSC in session taking decision on sexual abuses by peacekeeping forces (Credit: UN News Center)

UNSC in session taking decision on sexual abuses by UN peacekeepers (Credit: UN News Center)

The resolution endorsed: “the decision of the Secretary-General to repatriate a particular military unit or formed police unit of a contingent when there is credible evidence of widespread or systemic sexual exploitation and abuse by that unit!

By the same resolution, the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to give immediate and ongoing effect to its decision, including by urgently finalizing his guidance to United Nations peacekeeping operations to implement this decision.

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 14 in favour, with one abstention (Egypt).

In explaining its negative vote, Egypt said it was concerned that by the language of the resolution “peacekeeping troops and troop-contributing countries have been libelled is entirely unacceptable.” Egypt further explained that the root causes must be addressed by providing sufficient pre-deployment training to peacekeepers and separating their camps from the local population as an appropriate course of action. It has not won the support of other members of the Council.

By the text of the resolution, the Council is requesting the Secretary-General to gather and preserve evidence before investigations in order to ensure that the peacekeeping operation concerned took immediate steps to prevent future incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse, strengthened the accessibility, coordination and independence of processes for the receipt and management of complaints, and assisted victims.

Source: A/70/729

Total allegations by category of personnel, 2010-2015 Source: A/70/729

In recent years, international attention and concern is focussed on the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), where peacekeepers are accused of the most abuses.

It is sad that France, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has as yet to tell the international community what action it has taken, after it was found out more that 20 months ago that some members of its contingent in the Central African Republic were allegedly involved in of molestation of young boys as old as nine years old.

At the time, the news leaked out, it would be recalled that French President Francois Hollande vowed to take severe actions against the culprits! It’s not clear if that has ever happened.

In his report A/70/729, the Secretary-General declines from discussing it giving the impression he is awating outcome of the review panel he has set up “to inform the efforts of the United Nations.”

The Secretary-General’s report provides information on member states, whose forces have been found engaging in sexual exploitation of populations in countries they are assigned, by personnel categories, shown here under:

Allegations of sexual exploitation by nationality (Source: A/70/729)

Allegations of sexual exploitation by nationality Uniformed personnel inculdes military, police and other government-provided personnel (Source: A/70/729)

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Of the 21 countries identified by the United Nations, whose personnel are alleged to have molested people in the host countries are totally 21, 17 of which are from African nations and four non-African, according to the secretary-general’s report. Moreover, investigations are underway of cases the names of the country or countries not mentioned.

While the resolution is an important step toward combatting sexual exploitation by United Nations peacekeepers, on the part of the members of the Council, especially the Permanent Member states, it would have also been prudent to look into improving the work of the Security Council. Such non-political measures should help facilitate effectiveness of the Council, through including elaboration of the election criteria to its nine non-permanent member seats.

Keep in mind that it is the African Union (AU) that determines, who goes into the Council for two-year term, without any concern whether a given country has the stature, history and principles to defend human rights and help the Council ensure the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter.

Recall that it was the African Union that endorsed Burundi in October 2015 to become a member of the Human Rights Council. We all know today the slaughters that are still taking pace in that country by power usurper Pierre Nkurunziza and his team are perpetrating.

Why is that happening? It is simply because the international community has shut out its concerns for human rights abuses in Africa. In January 2016, the Security Council had to dispatch a delegation to look into the dangerous situation in Burundi.

The AU-created mess and the weaknesses in the Council’s ways of getting its non-permanent members has even allowed such murderous dictatorship as Ethiopia’s TPLF regime, with no loyalty whatsoever to the Charter of the United Nations, to become member of the Security Council for 2017-2018.

As I indicated in my article on the matter, the Charter in its Preamble gives succinct and brilliantly sums up the four operational areas of action for the United Nations. Over the years, these have been translated programmatically and institutionally. These are:

    * “To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

    * To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

    * To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

    * To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”.

These can be aggregated into four separate areas of activities, of the type in which the Security Council itself is seized with:

    (a) Peace and security;

    (b) Human rights;

    (c) The rule of law; and

    (d) Development.

In concrete terms, these being the primary missions of the Organization and in the interest of member states, they need to be given a mental note, when a nation seeks membership or is asked to give its support for membership by a member state to this committee or that organ of the United Nations.

I am firmly convinced that with its current onslaught on Ethiopians in different parts of the country, the TPLF regime is not qualified to become UNSC member.

If anyone thinks this is from the TransAtlantic Slave Trade  Era, he or she is mistaken. This is now, the crime of human rights violation by people who protested against land grab (

If anyone thinks this is from the TransAtlantic Slave Trade Era, he or she is mistaken. This is now, the crime of human rights violation by people who protested against land grab (

Look closely at the above 2016 picture, people tied together like animals, reminiscent of 17th century transAtlantic slave trade, TPLF security forces view and treatment of indigenous Ethiopians in South Omo Valley.

Under any religion or politics, this is cruel, inhuman and a degrading collective punishment of Ethiopian citizens – the Surma people.

Equally tragic is the response of the SNNPR Police Commissioner Fisseha Garedew. Weeks after these have happened, he tells the Voice of America, they are in the process of establishing committee to investigate the matter! This is the worst joke of 2016 in a country known to be run by a bloodthirsty regime!

The UN Security Council members should not join this indifference.

Ethiopia’s TPLF regime wants to become sugar exporter, Israeli company is a close ally in destroying up to 700,000 natural forest areas. The proceeds are shared, larger part going to TPLF members, China and Israel

The TPLF has grabbed several hundreds and thousands of hectares of traditional from the indigenous communities. People are killed in hundreds and buried in mass graves, as also reported in 2014.

Seen in the picture above is Surma men gathered to either to be taken to be shot or thrown to long-term imprisonment, because of their complaint about their lands being taken away, which the dictatorial TPLF regime considers a challenge to its authority!

The TPLF regime is not a law-abiding member of the international community. The world knows the unending massacres of Ethiopian Oromos, especially the youth!

This is why most Ethiopians happen to be concerned by the criteria in which such a monster regime is allowed to become member of the Security Council, especially at this difficult time for the international community!

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