Safeguarding Children from UN Peacekeeper Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Liberia
The majority of the over 100,000 UN uniformed peacekeeping personnel perform their jobs with courage, dedication and professionalism. Yet those who commit sexual offences bring shame on the entire UN system and betray the trust of those that they have been sent to protect. There is a need for system-wide reform to ensure that such abuses cannot again occur with widespread impunity.
This research is the result of a partnership between Keeping Children Safe and the University of Reading, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. It is part of a broader project focused on how to safeguard children from sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by UN peacekeepers.
The report has a specific focus on the UN peacekeeping operation in Liberia – UNMIL – that follows up on the 2002 reports of widespread sexual exploitation and abuse of children within that peacekeeping operation. Using desk and field research, we have analysed the changes that have been made to policies and practices within the peacekeeping operation and UN country team over the past fifteen years since those initial reports.
That research has involved doctrinal research on the laws, policies and practices within the UN and the host country, as well as the relevant international standards on child safeguarding. Through a thorough exploration of current child safeguarding laws, policies and practices, ranging from training for peacekeepers through to reporting mechanisms and access to justice, we have identified the gaps and weaknesses, and designed a context-specific toolkit that will systematically address those issues and provide streamlined child safeguarding based on international standards and that is relevant to the peacekeeping operation in Liberia.