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After Haiti Incidents, UN Says “Zero Tolerance” on Abuse By Peacekeepers

Above: UN Police Advisor Ann-Marie Orler (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

In September, four Uruguayan United Nations peacekeepers serving with MINUSTAH in Haiti were sent home for an investigation of the alleged assault of an 18-year-old Haitian man.

Last week, three Pakistani UN Peacekeepers were repatriated after a military tribunal found them guilty of the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old Haitian male.

After these crimes, the UN is now calling for a “zero impunity” approach by member states in dealing with sexual abuse.

“I strongly advocate for a zero impunity approach by member states,” said UN Police Advisor Ann-Marie Orler. “We need also to do our utmost to prevent sexual exploitation.”

The UN said it has taken steps in recent years to deal with such abuses by its personnel, which includes police officers.

These measures include the introduction of conduct and discipline units in peacekeeping operations, curfews, and placing some areas out of bounds.

“As law enforcement officers, we are expected to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” she said. “We have a duty of care and protection of civilians as UN peacekeepers.”

She also said that any UN police officer who against whom allegations of “serious misconduct” are substantiated is “immediately repatriated” from the mission.

“The United Nations has zero tolerance towards any kind of sexual exploitation,” she said. “Now is the time to move to zero occurrence.”

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