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Cablegate: "No One to Turn to"-Save the Children Report Of

P R 282344Z MAY 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE PRIORITY
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY
INFO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS STATE 057134

SIPDIS
EMBASSY KHARTOUM PASS TO CG JUBA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNSC KPKO PHUM KCRM HA IV SU
SUBJECT: "NO ONE TO TURN TO"-SAVE THE CHILDREN REPORT OF
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE BY UN PEACEKEEPERS AND AID
WORKERS


1. This is an action request. Department requests USUN to
approach appropriate UN Secretariat officials regarding the
recent Save the Children UK report, &No One to Turn To,8
which details sexual exploitation and abuse of minors by UN
peacekeepers and aid workers in southern Sudan, Cote
d,Ivoire, and Haiti. USUN should draw from the discussion
elements in paragraph 2 below. Department also requests
Embassies Port-au-Prince and Abidjan, and CG Juba, to
approach appropriate host nation authorities about the
alleged abuses in their territories, and to report on
collaboration and next steps between the host countries and
UN and non-governmental organization (NGO) personnel. Posts
should draw from the discussion elements in paragraph 3
below. For background on the report, see paragraph 5.

2. USUN is instructed to draw from the following discussions
elements.

Begin discussion elements.

-We are deeply concerned by the allegations of sexual abuse
and exploitation of minors by peacekeepers and aid workers
detailed in the Save the Children report, &No One to Turn
To.8 We take these accusations very seriously.

-We appreciate Secretary General Ban openly welcoming the
report's frank assessment, and his emphasis on
&zero-tolerance8 for sexual exploitation by UN personnel.
We support his pledge to investigate these allegations and to
take any appropriate &necessary measures,8 and would
appreciate information about what such measures would be,
including efforts to proactively reach out to children.

-We are pleased the UN has taken steps to address sexual
exploitation and abuse, including establishing conduct and
discipline units in all UN missions and strengthening
training for UN personnel. We also note all of the good work
that NGOs, many of whom are implementing partners of UN
agencies, have undertaken since the last Save the Children UK
report, including establishing Codes of Conduct consistent
with the Interagency Agency Standing Committee (IASC) six
principles, as well as conducting investigations training for
their staff.

-The U.S. recognizes that one of the largest obstacles to
governance of peacekeepers in UN missions is that the UN must
rely on troop contributing countries to screen their own
soldiers, and to punish them if they have committed abuses.
Therefore, we encourage the UN to follow up with troop
contributing countries to determine what actions they have
taken against peacekeepers who have been found guilty of
abusive acts.

-The U.S. also acknowledges that UN peacekeepers are not the
only persons committing these acts ) the issue goes beyond
peacekeeping activities and involves UN staff writ-large as
well as other humanitarian personnel. Therefore, we take
note of UN spokeswoman Michele Montas, statement that the UN
needs to strengthen its investigative capacity, and would
welcome information as to what increased measures the UN will
take in this regard. Additionally, we ask the UN to share
what steps it has taken or plans to take to enhance reporting
mechanisms, and ways in which it is collaborating/will
collaborate with other humanitarian personnel (i.e., NGO
partners).

-We also request that the Secretary General periodically
report to the Security Council on the outcome of UN Office of
Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) investigations, and of any
proceedings against the perpetrators of abuse. This
exchange of information can assist the Secretariat and
Security Council to better implement the zero tolerance
policy on sexual abuse.

End discussion elements.

3. Embassies Port-au-Prince and Abidjan, and CG Juba, are
instructed to draw from the following discussions elements.

-We are very concerned about the allegations of sexual abuse
and exploitation of minors by peacekeepers and aid workers
detailed in the Save the Children UK report, &No One to Turn
To,8 and take these accusations seriously. We express our
sincere condolences for the victims of these abuses.

-The U.S. is approaching UN Secretariat officials to discuss
the accusations in the report, and to show our support for
Secretary General Ban's pledge to investigate the allegations
and to take any &necessary measures.8

-We would appreciate any information about how your
government is collaborating with the UN peacekeeping mission
in your country to prevent such abusive acts. We would also
appreciate information on any measures that can be taken by
your government against perpetrators, or to support further
investigations.

4. Department requests that embassies Port-au-Prince,
Abidjan, and Khartoum report on collaboration and next steps
between the host countries and UN and NGO personnel.

5. BACKGROUND

In May 2008, Save the Children UK released a twenty-eight
page report titled &No One to Turn To,8 which details
allegations of physical and verbal abuse, prostitution, and
trafficking of children by UN peacekeepers and humanitarian
workers. The report was based on interviews with aid
workers, peace and security professionals, and two hundred
and fifty children ages ten to seventeen in Cote d,Ivoire,
Haiti, and southern Sudan. Researchers maintain that victims
included children as young as six, who were orphans,
dependent on humanitarian assistance, or had been separated
from their families. They also noted that a majority of the
assaults go unreported to local or UN authorities, either out
of the victim's shame or feelings of hopelessness, therefore
it is impossible to determine just how widespread the problem
is.

In the report, UN peacekeepers are &identified as a
particular source of abuse.8 However, authors praised the
UN for improving its reporting and investigative procedures,
and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) for
exhibiting &managerial courage and transparency8 in making
allegations public. Following the report's release, UN
Secretary General Ban called the sexual abuse of minors a
&very serious issue,8 and reiterated his zero-tolerance
policy for these acts by UN personnel. Ban also pledged to
further investigate the allegations, and to take &necessary
measures8 when appropriate.

In 2006, the UN received three hundred and seventy one
allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against children
and adults by UN personnel. Figures showed that less than
half of these complaints were resolved within one year.

RICE

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