Reuters reports on a possible resignation in the wake of the U.N. Congo peacekeepers/predators crisis:
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 28 (Reuters) – The U.N. representative in the Congo, American William Lacy Swing, may soon resign his post following allegations of widespread sexual abuse by peacekeepers, diplomats said on Monday.
Swing, due in New York on Thursday to confer with Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is expected to submit his resignation then or when he returns to the Congo, the envoys said.
American sources said Swing, a respected retired U.S. diplomat, had wanted to resign twice over the past two years but was persuaded by U.S. and U.N. officials to stay.
In light of the scandals, the envoys said U.N. officials believed it would be a good time to make a change in the top U.N. post in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although there was no suggestion Swing was personally involved in wrongdoing.
Over the past year, the United Nations has probed 150 allegations against some 50 soldiers of sexual exploitation of women and girls, including gang rapes.
Children as young as 12 or 13 were bribed with eggs, milk or a few dollars in exchange for sex, U.N. reports said.
Swing’s pending resignation from the Congo post is all well and good. But what will Kofi Annan be doing about this: U.N. fears peacekeepers commit sex abuse worldwide.
Meanwhile, two new reports on the U.N.’s peacekeeper/predator problem have been prepared. And tomorrow, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) will hold hearings on the scandal. From AP:
Smith has proposed a bill that would require troop-contributing nations to have codes of conduct in place. Otherwise, the United States would withhold funding for missions.
Withholding funds would be disastrous because the United States, the largest contributor to the United Nations, provides about 25 percent of the peacekeeping budget.
“We’re subsidizing this larger than anyone else on Earth and we have a responsibility to make sure, as they’re acting in our name, that there be a policy of zero tolerance,” Smith said.
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