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UN urges troop-contributing states' help in curbing sexual abuse by peacekeepers


UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- States which contribute troops to UN peacekeeping operations should take their part in preventing sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel by establishing proper accountability mechanisms, a senior UN official said on Tuesday.

Addressing the UN Security Council, Under-secretary-general forhumanitarian relief Jan Egeland said the incidence of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel has reached an "unacceptable" level in the past six months.

The UN peacekeeping department confirmed last month that the world body was investigating some 150 allegations of sexual abuse against UN peacekeepers and civilian staff in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Egeland said Secretary-General Kofi Annan has set clear standards of conduct to which all staff must be held accountable, in his bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse.

"There is a pressing need to ensure that this is now rigorouslyenforced," he stressed.

"We must commit ourselves to creating and maintaining an environment that prevents such egregious behavior. The active engagement of personnel-contributing countries is central to this process."

"I appeal to contributing member states to give this issue their urgent attention and ensure that appropriate accountability mechanisms are in place."

The United Nations has jurisdiction over its civilian staff in peacekeeping missions, but can not deal with soldiers, police and military observers contributed by member states. Usually, peacekeepers engaged in wrongdoings are repatriated home for prosecution. Nevertheless, they often go unpunished.


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