Security Council holds closed door talks on sexual abuse by UN forces

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN File Photo/E. Schneider.

The Security Council has heard a proposal by the UN Secretary-General to include the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel on its agenda.

Ban Ki-moon on Thursday addressed a closed door meeting of the chamber during which he described such misconduct as "a cancer" that is doing great harm to the people that the UN protects and serves.

The meeting was held at Mr Ban's request one day after he briefed the press on accusations of abuses allegedly committed by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.

Dianne Penn reports.

In his briefing to the Security Council, the Secretary-General expressed deep distress and shame over the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of power.

Mr Ban asked if the UN was doing enough to report cases and punish perpetrators.  His answer was no.

He also stressed that countries that provide uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping operations must take "swift action" on these matters.

United States ambassador Susan Power addressed reporters after the meeting.

"Meetings like this one are useful, but all that really matters is what happens out of a meeting like this and whether member states who comprise the United Nations, member states who provide training to troops and police who go into UN peacekeeping missions, member states who contribute troops and police and civilians, whether on the back end of a meeting like this the political will is maintained and the momentum is made to really take a series of concrete and meaningful steps to ensure a different kind of culture and a more effective system again at preventing these horrors."

The UN Secretary-General recommended that the Security Council put the issue of sexual abuse and other misconduct on the agenda of its meetings with countries that contribute troops to UN peacekeeping operations.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’31″

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