United Nations, Jun 16: Indian peacekeepers faced allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in three separate cases between 2010 and 2013, according to a new UN report.
The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) in its evaluation for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by the United Nations and Related Personnel in Peacekeeping Operations said that despite an overall decline since 2010, sexual exploitation and abuse allegations persisted with a slight increase in 2013.
India is the single largest contributor to UN peacekeeping and so far 180,000 Indian troops have participated in 44 of the 69 operations mandated by the Security Council.
The report, however, noted that the largest troop contributing countries "do not have the highest number" of substantiated allegations against their personnel.
It said since 2003, the United Nations has developed and implemented a three-pronged strategy of prevention, enforcement and remedial action to address sexual exploitation and abuse by military, police and civilian personnel of peacekeeping missions.
Pakistan faced four cases of substantiated allegations of sexual abuse by its peacekeepers. Despite an overall downward trend since 2009, sexual exploitation and abuse allegations persist. In 2013 they increased to 66 from 60 the previous year.
Sexual exploitation and abuse allegations involving minors accounted for over one third (36 per cent) of all allegations from 2008-2013.
Four missions have accounted for the highest number of allegations: the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and United Nations Missions in Sudan and South Sudan (UNMIS and UNMISS).
The largest number of allegations involved military personnel, followed by civilians and then the police. While civilians constituted 18 per cent of mission personnel, they accounted for 33 per cent of allegations. The report also said that remedial assistance to victims is very weak.
"Very few victims have been assisted due to lack of dedicated funding and the slow enforcement process. Mapping of remedial assistance services has not been undertaken in all missions and informal immediate assistance has been required to partially bridge the gap," it added.
"Sexual exploitation and abuse by military, police and civilian personnel of peacekeeping missions is one of the most conspicuous and consequential departures from the ideals of the Organisation.
"When it occurs as it does regularly it cannot only damage and destroy the lives of victims, but also taint the reputations of individuals, even countries," the report said.