Strong collaboration needed to support victims of sex abuse by UN personnel

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Atul Khare. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The UN children's fund (UNICEF) has allocated an additional US $1.8 million to its offices in countries where UN personnel have allegedly committed acts of sexual exploitation and abuse.

That's what the head of the UN Department of Field Support told diplomats meeting in New York on Tuesday.

Atul Khare was among several senior UN officials who briefed a meeting of the General Assembly.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Khare described recent allegations of peacekeeper abuse in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as "profoundly disturbing."

The immediate concern, he added, is to protect and support the victims, most of whom are children.

He outlined steps that have been taken, including provision of medical assistance and other services.

"Experience has shown us that we need strong collaboration among peacekeeping partners, including Member States and local actors on the ground, to have a tangible impact in victim assistance. Given the horrendous nature of the acts being reported and that the majority seem to involve children, we are working closely with UNICEF to ensure that critical services are available. UNICEF has made available an additional US$1.8 million to its local offices to deal with this surge requirement."

Mr Khare said the UN counts on countries to "expeditiously bring to justice" those who have committed crimes while serving under its flag.

Countries that have provided troops for UN operations have also been asked to establish on-site court martial proceedings in the event of sex crime allegations.

This step, he said, will allow victims and communities to see that justice is being done and that there is no impunity for UN peacekeepers.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’32″

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