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US Senator pushes for US leadership on addressing sexual violence by peacekeepers

The chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has urged the US to exercise leadership at the UN citing the international body’s failure to properly enforce a “zero-tolerance” policy on sexual abuse.

In response to ongoing revelations about the extent of sexual exploitation and abuse at the hands of United Nations (UN) peacekeepers, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) offered a series of recommendations for his government to pursue at the UN, in a letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry.

“As the largest contributor to the United Nations and as a permanent member on the UN Security Council, the United States has a responsibility to ensure that the United Nations upholds the highest standards of professionalism in peacekeeping operations,” wrote Senator Corker in his letter to Secretary Kerry.

“The failure by the United Nations to enforce its policies and hold peacekeeping personnel accountable for their crimes has resulted in peacekeepers harming those they are meant to protect…The United Nations and its membership have analyzed and reported on this issue, but meaningful action to date has been insufficient. The United States must take the lead in matching words with action.”

Sri Lankan troops in Haiti were amongst the UN peacekeeping forces accused of sexual violence, including against minors. Soldiers are yet to face trial for the allegations.

See full letter to Secretary Kerry here.