Event Title

Façade of Activity: The Persistence of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by United Nations Peacekeepers

Presenter Information

Eleanor Powell, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Davis 217

Start Date

30-4-2015 3:00 PM

End Date

30-4-2015 3:55 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

In conflict and post-conflict situations, United Nations peacekeepers are meant to protect civilians from sexual violence. But what if the peacekeepers themselves are the perpetrators? Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. The first known cases of these crimes, known as sexual exploitation and abuse, emerged in the 1990s from the UN mission in Cambodia and were publicized most recently in 2014 from the joint UN-African Union mission in Somalia. These crimes currently thrive in an environment of impunity. In response, the United Nations and prominent civil society organizations have attempted to ameliorate this issue through a variety of reforms. But even with this array of (supposedly) comprehensive reforms, sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers persists. At play are two interrelated, though distinct questions: 1) Why does sexual violence and exploitation by peacekeepers occur? and 2) Why do these crimes continue to happen? While a number of factors will always enable sexual violence to occur in peacekeeping missions, there are real ways in which these crimes are allowed to persist. For different reasons, both the UN and civil society groups fail to address the issue in an effective way because they mistake its symptoms for its root cause and shy away from reforms that will have impact. To create reforms that successfully decrease impunity, the UN and civil society groups must reframe these instances of sexual violence as a microcosm of larger issues within peacekeeping itself.

Faculty Sponsor

Laine Thielstrom

CLAS Field of Study

Social Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1502

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Apr 30th, 3:00 PM Apr 30th, 3:55 PM

Façade of Activity: The Persistence of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by United Nations Peacekeepers

Davis 217

In conflict and post-conflict situations, United Nations peacekeepers are meant to protect civilians from sexual violence. But what if the peacekeepers themselves are the perpetrators? Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. The first known cases of these crimes, known as sexual exploitation and abuse, emerged in the 1990s from the UN mission in Cambodia and were publicized most recently in 2014 from the joint UN-African Union mission in Somalia. These crimes currently thrive in an environment of impunity. In response, the United Nations and prominent civil society organizations have attempted to ameliorate this issue through a variety of reforms. But even with this array of (supposedly) comprehensive reforms, sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers persists. At play are two interrelated, though distinct questions: 1) Why does sexual violence and exploitation by peacekeepers occur? and 2) Why do these crimes continue to happen? While a number of factors will always enable sexual violence to occur in peacekeeping missions, there are real ways in which these crimes are allowed to persist. For different reasons, both the UN and civil society groups fail to address the issue in an effective way because they mistake its symptoms for its root cause and shy away from reforms that will have impact. To create reforms that successfully decrease impunity, the UN and civil society groups must reframe these instances of sexual violence as a microcosm of larger issues within peacekeeping itself.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/407