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UN reports drop in sexual abuse in Liberia

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 7:31 am    Post subject: UN reports drop in sexual abuse in Liberia Reply with quote

The UN has reported a decrease in cases of sexual abuse and violence by its peacekeepers in Liberia. The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)’s Sexual Exploitation and Abuse report for 2006, released to the media said, thirty allegations were reported in 2006 compared to 45 in 2005.

The UNMIL report was unveiled a day after the world marked the International Women’s Day, in which hundreds of Liberian women staged a sit-in at the country’s Supreme Court.

The women were demanding speedy trial of perpetrators of rape and violence against women, a crime they said was on the increase.

Investigations into some of the cases have allegedly implicated several members of the UN peacekeeping mission with the crimes, but the UNMIL report painted a different picture.

“We have made some progress in our prevention efforts and we will continue our efforts to reinforce the UN’s zero tolerance policy, because even one incident of sexual exploitation and abuse is one too many,” said Alan Doss, the UN Secretary-General’s special representative for Liberia.

The report said ten of the reported cases under investigation allegedly involved sex with minors, two sexual assault and rape of adults; one prostitution; and 17 involved ‘ consensual relationships with members of the local population. Compared to the previous year, the report showed that the decrease in the number of allegations was mainly due to the “preventive measures taken by the mission”, and its Conduct and Discipline Unit (CDU), which became fully operational in 2006, it said.

The UN mission said it had put in place some disciplinary measures against both its military and civilian staff, including raising awareness about the effects and consequences of sexual exploitation and abuse.

UNMIL said it had also adopted a collective approach to prevention by involving the Liberian government, NGOs and the local communities in various programmes to raise awareness.

“So far, 35 local NGOs have been trained to spread the UN’s message on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) prevention,” the report added.
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