Report Released on Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers
Monday, October 24, 2005 4:50 PM

On Tuesday October 17, 2005, Refugees International released a report titled “Must Boys Be Boys? Ending Sexual Exploitation & Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Missions.”  The report details that a “boys will be boys” attitude among UN Peacekeepers permits and tolerates the sexual exploitation and abuse of local women.  The report assessed, “This attitude is slowly changing, but the UN must go beyond rhetoric and ensure that the resources needed to change this culture are available.”


Knowledge of an existing problem of UN peacekeeper abuse of power is not new.  There has been significant attention on the matter particularly since the 2004 exposure of sexual exploitation of women in the Congo.  In the Congo, allegations of sexual exploitation extended to females as young as 12 years old.  Sex has been exchanged for food, money, and jobs.  Allegations of sexual abuse have been made in each of the UN’s peacekeeping missions over the past 15 years.


The UN has acknowledged the problem in its own report published in March 2005.  The report included recommendations on change to better the situation.  Since August, the UN has implemented specific units within peacekeeping missions that oversee the training of peacekeeping personal in the understanding of what constitutes sexual abuse and exploitation.  These units are also set up to receive, review, and forward complaints of abuse.


Sarah Martin, the author of the Refugees International report, attributes the problem of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers to gender inequality.  She states, “These problems will persist until the root causes are addressed: the inequity between men and women.”  Recommendations put forward by Martin include the establishment of micro-finance and income-generating projects focused on women.  Such efforts at empowering women would help chip away at inequality.


The full report can be accessed here.


Compiled from:


Bojana Stoparic, Report Says Abuse by U.N.'s Blue-Helmets Persists, Women's eNews, October 18, 2005.


Report Charges that UN Soldiers Covering Up Sexual Exploitation, Rape and Abuse, LifeSite, October 20, 2005.