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U.S., UN Train Peacekeepers to Investigate Sexual Misconduct

Mar 10, 2018

While the vast majority of the nearly 100,000 men and women who serve as UN peacekeepers do so with honor and integrity, acts of misconduct still occur, including incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse against the very people peacekeepers are deployed to protect.

The troop contributing country is ultimately responsible for investigating, documenting, and punishing instances of misconduct. But the deployed unit's leadership often does not have the knowledge or capacity to effectively investigate infractions of military or criminal law. Only after a credible investigation is concluded can appropriate disciplinary or criminal actions be taken against those responsible for abuses.

UN Minusca peacekeepers patrolling through the 3rd district of Bangui, in the Central African town of Bambari. (File)
UN Minusca peacekeepers patrolling through the 3rd district of Bangui, in the Central African town of Bambari. (File)

That is why the United States and the United Nations have jointly offered the first-ever training course for National Investigation Officers.This course is a model of interagency and international cooperation. It was sponsored through the Global Peace Operations Initiative, managed by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, and jointly developed and executed by the U.S. Department of Defense and the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services.

Twenty-six officers from 11 African partner countries participated in the training, which aimed to hone the effectiveness of conduct and discipline investigations in UN peacekeeping. The objective was to improve the officers' ability to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by deepening their understanding of UN-mandated standards of conduct and discipline, and training them in basic investigative skills and evidence collection techniques.

The course will be offered three more times this year-- again in Africa, and one each in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.

Training courses like the National Investigation Officer Course demonstrate that the United States is committed to supporting the UN's zero-tolerance policy against sexual exploitation and abuse.