UN to issue 'no excuses' card in effort to curtail sex abuse

AP News
Posted: Sep 01, 2016 6:45 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations will begin providing peacekeeping troops with 'no excuses' cards as part of a wider effort to combat sexual abuse in the organization's international stabilization operations, an official said Thursday.

Jane Holl Lute, special coordinator on improving the U.N. response to sexual exploitation and abuse, said the cards would make very clear the organization's standards of behavior during deployment.

"The whole point of the 'no excuses' card is to look at every angle of our operation and say 'how can we strengthen ourselves against the possibility that these acts can occur?,'" Lute said. "We want everybody to be clear what's expected of them."

Other measures being introduced include mandatory training for troops and commanders before they deploy and increased vetting to keep individuals with prior histories of sexual abuse from partaking in peacekeeping operations.

Because the U.N. does not have its own army, but relies on member states to provide soldiers and police for stabilization operations, each troop contributing country is responsible for investigating and prosecuting infractions committed within their contingents.

To improve accountability, the U.N. is also working to standardize norms for reporting and dealing with cases where peacekeepers are implicated in sexual abuse, according to report on the U.N.'s efforts combat sexual abuse.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also considering the establishment of an additional investigative body to address concerns with respect to the preservation of evidence and to ensure a victim-centered approach during investigations, the report said.

A trust fund has also been established to support victim services that will be used to be used to provide essential services, such as medical, psychological and legal services, to victims, according to the report.

The U.N. has long faced allegations of sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, especially those based in Central African Republic and Congo. The U.N. says there were 69 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers in 2015.