UN gives clean chit to Indian Blue Helmets in sexual abuse case

UN Peacekeeping forces

The UN has given a clean chit to Indian peacekeepers, who were accused of sexual abuses in 2015.

Overall, there were 69 cases of abuse by peacekeepers reported in 2015, which cut across nationalities. “We will never, never agree to protectors turning into predators,” Under Secretary-General Atul Khare said. There were 22 cases of abuse against minors, to which Mr Khare said that he felt “personally hurt” when he read about the case of a 13 year old child who became pregnant after being raped by a peace-keeper and felt ashamed to call himself a peacekeeper on such days.

The UN has for the first time identified the nationalities of the peacekeepers who have indulged in sexual abuse. Fortunately, the 7,798 Indian peacekeepers do not figure in this tainted list.  According to a report by the Office of Internal Oversight Services, there were three cases based on substantial evidence of sexual exploitation or abuse by Indian peacekeepers between 2010 and 2013.

In a recent statement, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin said: We have a zero tolerance policy on SEA (sexual exploitation and abuse) cases and would like that there is zero tolerance on such issues across the UN too.”

“A trust fund was being set up to help the victims of abuse and one source to fund it would be docking the salaries of the offenders,” Mr Khare said. UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon laid out measures in his report to end the meanace of sexual exploitation and abuse. Mr Ban said he is “resolute in ensuring ever more effective means to prevent and address the profound betrayal through such acts by United Nations personnel against the people they are charged with protecting”.

India is the third largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping missions, who have earned enormous goodwill in various missions they served down decades.

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