The United Nations Security Council has passed its first resolution seeking to tackle sexual abuse committed by U.N. peacekeepers, ABC News reports. The resolution, which came to a vote on Friday, states that if a peacekeeper is accused of sexual abuse, and if its country fails to properly investigate, the U.N. Secretary-General can replace the entire contingent with peacekeepers from another country. More specifically, the resolution asks that the Secretary-General take action when one of the following three conditions takes place: a country fails to properly investigate allegations, perpetrators are not held accountable for their actions, or the Secretary-General is not kept abreast of an investigation’s progress.
Fourteen out of 15 countries voted in favor of the resolution, with Egypt abstaining. Before the vote, Egypt had proposed a last-minute amendment to the resolution, which would have required that all three of the aforementioned conditions take place before a military or police unit is sent home. Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., argued vociferously against the proposed change. “There are countries within the negotiations that are going on as we speak that have tried to water down the recommendations that the Secretary-General has made,” she said. “We come in here everyday, we lament, we condemn. We condemn the abuse, we condemn the lack of accountability. And then we go to the General Assembly and some of us try to water down provisions to try and strengthen the system.”
Egypt’s amendment was rejected, and the resolution ultimately passed. “To the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, we pledge that we will do better,” Power said after the vote. “We will do better to ensure that the blue helmets that we send as your protectors will not become perpetrators.”
Read the full story at ABC News.