The United Nations responds today to my column last week on the Congo peacekeeper/sex predator crisis. From Jane Holl Lute, Asst. Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, in the N.Y. Post letters page:
February 24, 2005 — Michelle Malkin’s column (“U.N.’s Rape of the Innocents,” Opinion, Feb. 16) neglects to mention the measures the United Nations is taking to confront the deeply disturbing issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. peacekeepers.
Our policy is clear: zero tolerance. (MM: Uh-huh.)
All forms of sexual exploitation and abuse are prohibited. To enforce this, our policies are being re-examined, and we are focusing on broad and tangible reforms in enforcement, training, staff welfare and victim assistance and support.
The United Nations will hold accountable those throughout the chain of command who fail to act decisively in enforcing the “zero tolerance” standard. The secretary-general has asked the Security Council for 100 additional military police and more investigative resources to conduct self-monitoring and enforcement programs in the Congo.
In the Congo, we are working with the governments of our troop-contributing countries, ultimately responsible for disciplining their military and civilian police personnel, to ensure effective follow up in all disciplinary cases.
Sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. personnel is an ugly stain on U.N. peacekeeping’s distinguished record of collective achievement and individual sacrifice.
It violates our fundamental “duty of care” and casts a shadow over the significant contributions the U.N. has made in helping the Congolese people recover from years of devastating conflict.
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