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The UN will help? Read this

Why do so many people have faith in the UN? They were behind Gulf war 1, sanctions that killed 100,000's and now this.
US army needs to get out of Iraq with NO intervention or 'help' from the UN.
Report reveals shame of UN peacekeepers
Sexual abuse by soldiers 'must be punished'

Owen Bowcott
Friday March 25, 2005

Guardian

The reputation of United Nations peacekeeping missions suffered a humiliating blow yesterday as an internal report identified repeated patterns of sexual abuse and rape perpetrated by soldiers supposed to be restoring the international rule of law.
The highly critical study, published by Jordan's ambassador to the UN assembly, was endorsed by the organisation's embattled secretary general, Kofi Annan, who condemned such "abhorrent acts" as a "violation of the fundamental duty of care".

The embarrassment caused by the misconduct of UN forces in devastated communities around the world - including Haiti, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Cambodia , East Timor and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) - has become an increasingly high profile, political problem.

Allegations have recently surfaced that troops sent to police Liberia were regularly having sex with girls aged as young as 12, sometimes in the mission's administrative buildings.

In the DRC, peacekeepers were said to have offered abandoned orphans small gifts - as little as two eggs from their rations, says the report - for sexual encounters.

Used condoms, an inquiry by the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services discovered, littered the perimeter of military camps and guard posts.

Alarm about the involvement of UN peacekeepers in sex trafficking first became widespread during the 1990s when investigators found soldiers were customers in brothels run in Bosnia and Kosovo which relied on women sold into forced prostitution. One recent estimate suggested up to 2,000 women have been coerced into sex slavery in Kosovo.

Yesterday's report, by Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, was commissioned to reform the way in which troops behave on UN missions. It was also aimed at devising a new investigative framework to detect and deter soldiers exploiting young victims, who are often impoverished refugees.

The UN is coordinating 17 mandated, peacekeeping operations around the globe, involving a deployment of 75,000 personnel from scores of contributing nations.

"Despite the distinguished role that United Nations peacekeeping personnel have played over the last half-century," the study notes, "there regrettably will always be those who violate codes of conduct and dishonour the many who have given their lives in the cause of peace. Sexual exploitation and abuse by military, civilian police and civilian peacekeeping personnel is not a new phenomenon."

But the study, released at the UN's headquarters in New York, adds: "The reality of prostitution and other sexual exploitation in a peacekeeping context is profoundly disturbing because the United Nations has been mandated to enter into a broken society to help it, not to breach the trust placed in it by the local population." There have even been reports of paedophilia committed by peacekeepers.

Entitled A Comprehensive Strategy To Eliminate Future Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, the document insists that UN interventions operate on the principle that they will not "in any way increase the suffering of vulnerable sectors of [a] population".

In the DRC, the report says, "sexual exploitation and abuse mostly involves the exchange of sex for money (on average $1-$3 per encounter), for food (for immediate consumption or to barter later) or for jobs".

Sexual exploitation by peacekeepers may threaten the security of missions, the study suggests, exposing them "to blackmail and violent retaliation". It also speeds the transmission of HIV/Aids.

"Victims frequently suffer from psychological trauma as a result of their experiences. Victims and abandoned peacekeeper babies may face stigmatisation by their families and communities, which deprive them of all support."

One possible precaution, Prince Zeid contemplates, is to ban all sexual relations between local populations and members of resident UN military missions in high-risk areas. It would "protect the reputation and credibility of the mission" and safeguard "a local population highly vulnerable to abuse".

Another solution may be to encourage better recreational facilities for soldiers off duty. "Sites could [contain] sports areas, free internet facilities and subsidised telephone lines to facilitate contact with family and friends."

An increase in the percentage of female peacekeeping personnel would help, the report observes. "The presence of more women in a mission, especially at senior levels, will help to promote an environment that discourages sexual exploitation and abuse."

But the report's more radical recommendations are contained in proposals to over haul the investigation of allegations of rape and abuse. Courts martial, it says, should be set up within mission areas for "serious offences" to ensure immediate access to witnesses and evidence.

They would demonstrate that there was "no impunity for acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by members of military contingents". At present many of the accused return to their home countries where prosecutions are rarely pursued.

There have been exceptions. In the DRC, France recently jailed one UN civilian employee for rape and making pornographic films. South Africa and Morocco have also taken action against others.

Soldiers found guilty should have their pay docked and be made financially accountable, the report says.

It adds that there should be "DNA and other tests to establish paternity" and fathers forced to provide child support.

Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005
U.N. out of U.S. 25.Mar.2005 02:42

Listen Up !

Sometimes you hear "U.S. out of U.N." Trouble is that the U.N. with HQ in Manhattan works like an arm of the U.S. government, so it can't do squat for progress anywhere.

If we could get the U.N. HQ to move somewhere else, like maybe to Timbuktu, or to Australia -- it might someday be something.

not my UN 25.Mar.2005 07:21

TheTroll

When the Judeo-christian dominated UN gave Zionists thier blessing to be murderous thieves of Palestinian lands, that is just accepted as what the UN does, no debate. But when a much MUCH more inclusive UN chose NOT to give Bush's invasion of Iraq THIER blessings, the UN becomes MEANINGLESS, OBSOLEAT, IRRELIVANT, etc. So, obviously, the UN was never an organization of peace, but an organization of appeasment. And who got appeased, before things changed, shows who was running the UN.

the UN and Palestine 25.Mar.2005 12:07

great ant.

I agree with the first comment; that the main problem with the UN is US domination of the Security Council which has become the exclusive tool of world corporatism.

In recent decades UN policies toward the Palestine/Israel impasse have fallen under the sway of this same US domination of the SC, but that was not the case in the beginning.In fact, US policy itself has continually become more pro-Israel.It is often forgotten that the supposedly most pro-Israel President of them all, Harry Truman, actually supported UN General Assembly resolution 194 of Dec. 11, 1948, which is based upon the Palestinian right of return as a necessary precondition for peace.

The UN did violate Palestinian rights as early as 1947 when the Partition Resolution (GA 181) was passed.Indeed virtually everything done in the former Ottoman Empire by the UN's predecessor, the League of Nations, was in blatant violation of Arab rights.However, UN resolution 181 provided for only a very small Zionist state that would have had to work out a 'modus vivendi' with the Palestinians and other Arab neighbors based upon equality and cooperation.After the beginning of the 1948 war President Truman did support Israel's Unilateral Declaration of Independence (similar to racist Rhodesia's UDI), but after the conclusion of the war, Israel's acceptance in membership in the UN was made dependent on Israel's recognition of the Palestinian right of return and the expectation that Israel would give back most of the land it had captured in the war beyond the borders envisioned by Res 181.

Ultimately, the UN has been as bad for the former Ottoman Arabs as the League of Nations was, but these organizations were not subverted as a result of a pre-ordained plan by a New World Order conspiracy.Money and power corrupts institutions that do not protect themselves against it.International institutions designed to protect the right of self-determination of indigenous peoples end up preserving the colonialist, imperialist and feudalistic systems they inherit because that is always what is easiest and most profitable in the short term.