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Reps. Tenney, Schneider meet with United Nations Coordinator to Address Sexual Exploitation and Abuse involving UN Peacekeepers

Meeting Focuses on Areas for Reform and U.S. Efforts to End Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

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Washington, DC, June 21, 2017 | comments

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) and Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) today announced their meeting with a United Nations Special Coordinator in an effort to improve United Nations (UN) response to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) in peacekeeping operations.

The meeting, held yesterday, was called following the introduction of a resolution by Tenney and Schneider condemning SEA by UN Peacekeepers. The resolution reaffirms the United States’ commitment to ensuring that this issue is addressed and directs the Administration to redouble its pressure and focus on efforts toward reform within the UN. 

Although the UN has taken recent action to address this problem, there is still much more work to be done. Today’s meeting focused on potential areas for reform, and ways the U.S. can provide assistance by strengthening current programs and aiding in future investigations.

“Ending sexual exploitation and abuse starts with reforming current practices and enhancing efforts that have been proven to be successful in addressing this critical issue. Improved vetting systems coupled with pressure and accountability will go a long way in working to address this problem. I would like to thank the UN for their attention to this issue and for taking the time to meet with us to discuss ways we can work together to put an end to sexual abuse and the exploitation of vulnerable populations. Going forward, the United States must take a leading role in working to push the UN efforts further and demand accountability from countries who fail to properly investigate or discipline peacekeepers who commit these terrible acts,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney.

I appreciated the opportunity to learn more today about the steps the UN is taking to demonstrate a serious commitment to ending sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers against those they are charged with protecting. The United States should stand ready to help the UN in this effort to improve training, end impunity, and increase transparency towards ending these abuses,” said Rep. Brad Schneider.

Specifically, Tenney and Schneider discussed ways that the U.S. could enhance the SEA-related component of the Global Peace Operations Imitative (GPOI), a State-Department-run security assistance program that provides training for peacekeeping troops from a variety of countries and sought to strengthen the capacity of individual countries to contribute to UN and regional peace operations to improve training. They also discussed ways that the UN is working to expand the Misconduct Tracking System (MTS) to vet all uniformed personnel deployed to UN peacekeeping operations for prior allegations of SEA. This program will help to improve the vetting process, in turn decreasing the number of SEA cases. Additionally, they noted that the UN should demand demonstrable progress on preventing, investigating and prosecuting SEA cases from troop-contributing countries.

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