UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday moved to ratchet up pressure on countries whose nationals are accused of sexual abuse while serving in UN peacekeeping missions.
Ban outlined a series of steps to the UN Security Council a day after firing the head of the UN force in the Central African Republic over a string of scandalous allegations of child sexual abuse by the peacekeepers.
Under UN rules, it is up to the troop-contributing country to investigate and prosecute soldiers accused of misconduct while serving under the UN flag.
However, Ban said that all too often, investigations are not done quickly enough, and in the most frustrating cases, they are not done at all.
“I am frustrated by what appear to be far too lenient sanctions for such grave acts affecting men, women and all too often children,” Ban told a two-hour closed-door meeting of the council.
“A failure to pursue criminal accountability for sexual crimes is tantamount to impunity,” he said, according to remarks later released by his office.
Ban told the council he plans to name and shame countries whose troops face allegations of misconduct in his annual report and asked the council to follow up on all reported cases.
He also informed council members that Parfait Onanga-Anyanga of Gabon would travel to Bangui next week as the new head of mission.
Onanga-Anyanga, who recently served as UN envoy in Burundi, replaces Babacar Gaye of Senegal who tendered his resignation at Ban’s request on Tuesday.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, whose country is by far the largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeper, said “the system as it currently stands has a lot of gaps in it.”
Power said UN member-states “have to be on board and enthusiastic about getting to the bottom of allegations” tarnishing UN missions.
Ban earlier spoke by videoconference to the envoys and force commanders and told them they “were directly accountable for maintaining conduct and discipline within their mission,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Ban in June appointed a review panel led by former Canadian Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps to look into how the UN handled allegations that French and African troops sexually abused children in the Central African Republic beginning in late 2013.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big