Sexual Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers in Haiti
by Stephen Lendman
UN Blue Helmets are supposed to restore order, maintain peace and security and help troubled nations transition to stability.
Instead, they operate as imperial enforcers creating more conflict than resolution - including committing horrific human rights abuses against vulnerable people they're mandated to protect.
Wherever they're deployed it's the same ugly story. After the Bush administration ousted democratically elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a ruthless, illegal MINUSTAH mission enforced coup d'etat authority.
Abuses against vulnerable Haitians from then to now include sexual exploitation, trafficking and rape. On June 9, AP News headlined "UN: Sex exploitation by peacekeepers strongly underreported."
AP obtained a draft UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) report (expected to be released later in June) on sexual crimes committed by Blue Helmets.
It comes a decade after a similar earlier one discovered a disturbing pattern of peacekeeper misconduct wherever they're deployed - including sexual criminality.
Evidence showed so-called peacekeepers regularly had sex with young girls. Blue Helmets in Bosnia and Kosovo forced around 2,000 women into sex slavery.
Liberian girls young as 12 were exploited. Pedophilia was discovered in other countries. At the time, a UN statement said:
"The reality of prostitution and other sexual exploitation in a peacekeeping context is profoundly disturbing because the United Nations has been mandated to enter into a broken society to help it, not to breach the trust placed in it by the local population."
UN authorities claim they operate on the principle of not "in any way increas(ing) the suffering of vulnerable sectors of (a) population."
Yet wherever they're deployed, they're alleged mandate is egregiously violated - most often unaccountably.
AP reported Blue Helmets engaging in "transactional sex" with more than 225 Haitian women - in exchange for food, medicines and other inducements.
It said sexual exploitation "remains significantly underreported" wherever Blue Helmets are deployed.
"(M)ajor challenges remain a decade after a groundbreaking UN report first tackled this issue."
It remains unchecked, out-of-control with little done to curb abusive practices.
The reported indicated about one-third of sexual abuses committed against minor under age 18. Aiding victims is "severely deficient."
Investigations when conducted drag on interminably - usually without resolution. Victimization continues unchecked.
UN investigators interviewed 231 Haitian women and girls saying they had "transactional sexual relationships" with Blue Helmets.
Haiti is the hemisphere's poorest country - still devastated from the 2010 earthquake, UN-caused cholera epidemic killing thousands, and US-installed repressive governance.
"For rural (Haitian) women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the 'triggering need,' " for transactional sex, according to the UN report.
Urban and suburban women got "church shoes, cell phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money," it explained.
"In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media."
"Only seven interviewees knew about the United Nations policy prohibiting sexual exploitation and abuse." None knew about a UN hotline to report it.
Peacekeeper sexual transactions are prohibited conduct. Yet the practice continues widespread perhaps since Blue Helmets were first deployed - for sure going back many years.
Number of reported abuses way undercount the problem's severity. The UN's draft report doesn't say over what time period "transactional sex" occurred in Haiti.
Blue Helmets were first deployed there in 2004. Straightaway horrendous abuses were committed - including persecution, violence, sex crimes and murder.
On the one hand, peacekeepers are allegedly deployed to protect vulnerable people. Instead they abuse them.
Haiti is Exhibit A - its people brutally exploited for 11 years with no end of unwanted occupation in sight.
At times clashes erupt. Haitians want real democracy and justice they're denied - including respect for their fundamental civil and human rights. Not as long as America enforces colonial rule.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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