More women on UN operations will curb sexual abuse, foreign minister says

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More women on UN operations will curb sexual abuse, foreign minister says

Post by Trooper on Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:18 pm

It’s an initiative that has the potential to bring lasting change to UN peace operations, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says.

By BRUCE CAMPION-SMITH --- Ottawa Bureau
Fri., Nov. 24, 2017


Canada's efforts to encourage more women to participate in United Nations peace operations will help transform the nature of these operations, starting with the urgent need to curb sexual violence by the very soldiers sent to protect vulnerable populations, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

Freeland singled out that initiative Friday as the one that has the potential to bring lasting change to UN peace operations and how they interact with local populations.

“I think this is what UN peacekeeping really needs,” Freeland said during an appearance before the Toronto Star editorial board.

The Liberal government last month unveiled its long-awaited strategy to support United Nations peace missions.

The plan includes pledges to assist with training, a quick-response force to defend other UN troops who increasingly come under attack; and commitments to deploy transport aircraft and helicopters.

The Liberal plan had been more than a year in the making and yet offered no details of where Canadian forces might be deployed, frustrating some observers who were hoping to see a commitment to a specific UN operation.

Yet Freeland defended Canada’s approach, saying the government was seeking to find ways to transform UN operations over the long-term. “How do we go back to peacekeeping in a way that really makes a positive impact,” she said.

Simply contributing 600 troops to a UN peacekeeping force that already numbers some 100,000 worldwide “doesn’t move the dial,” she said.

“We frankly wanted to be more ambitious than that. We wanted to think about how we could make peacekeeping better,” Freeland said.

She said Canadians feel that “we are called to do a job to try and make the world a better place. . . . For me, peacekeeping is part of that.”

Speaking Friday, she singled out the initiatives to involve women in such operations. That includes the pledge of $6 million to UN funds already devoted to increasing female participation in peace missions. Ottawa will also provide $15 million to establish a separate trust to boost the deployment of women not just in greater numbers but in “meaningful” and more senior roles under what Ottawa calls the “Elsie initiative,” named after Elsie McGill, the first Canadian woman to design and oversee the production of aircraft during the Second World War.

It fits with what Freeland has called Canada’s feminist foreign agenda, a strategy she underscored earlier this month when she announced a package to help promote gender equality and the role of women in governance and peace and security.

She said more women in United Nations operations would help combat the problem of sexual abuse by UN troops.

That problem has rocked the UN and undermined the trust in the foreign troops who arrive to keep the peace and bring stability to trouble spots around the globe.

An AP investigation of U.N. missions during the past 12 years found nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation.

Earlier this month, the UN reported 31 new allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation against peacekeepers and civilians working for UN agencies, according to a report by the AP.

“This is horrific. . . . I struggle to communicate how wrong it is, that UN peacekeepers who are there to protect people would actually prey upon them,” Freeland said.

“That terrible reality, I think threatens to discredit the whole idea of peacekeeping,” she said.

While many steps are needed to curb such abuse, a “key way to do it is to have women peacekeepers,” Freeland said.

“That is going to go a huge part of the way to fixing the problem,” she told the editorial board.

She said research has shown that local populations are more likely to report incidences of abuse and exploitation to a woman peacekeeper.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/11/23/more-women-on-un-operations-will-curb-sexual-abuse-foreign-minister-says.html
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Trooper

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Re: More women on UN operations will curb sexual abuse, foreign minister says

Post by JAFO on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:27 pm

As much as I think this is a great idea that's all it is an idea.

Note to Freeland, Trudeau, Sajin et all LEAD BY EXAMPLE and send more women of the CF on a UN mission instead of just throwing money at the idea.

Oh wait that's Canada's move now isn't it? Just throw money at it with strings attached of course.
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Re: More women on UN operations will curb sexual abuse, foreign minister says

Post by Forcell on Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:14 pm

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Re: More women on UN operations will curb sexual abuse, foreign minister says

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