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Emphasis against sex abuse by UN peacekeers

Fréchette heading to Kosovo to continue emphasis against sex abuse by UN peacekeepers

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette will head to Kosovo later this week to continue her tour of United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world to emphasize the world body's zero-tolerance policy against sexual exploitation and abuse.

Ms. Fréchette travelled today to Germany after ending a four-day visit to Côte d'Ivoire, the last of three West African countries where the United Nations has peacekeeping missions. Her trip comes in the wake of allegations of widespread exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Some accusations include trading two eggs or making small payments for sex.

Yesterday she met with Ivorian Prime Minister Seydou Diarra to inform him about her mission on the zero-tolerance policy, and also to review with him the current political situation in the country.

They discussed South Africa's mediation to bring peace to Côte d'Ivoire, during which the Deputy Secretary-General reiterated UN support for South African President Thabo Mbeki's efforts. She also said that the United Nations was ready to assist the Ivorian authorities in organizing transparent, free and democratic elections.

Ms. Fréchette had met with President Laurent Gbagbo on Friday and reviewed the current situation in the country as well as the UN contribution to the peace process.

On Saturday, following a meeting with the senior management of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), the Deputy Secretary-General held a press conference to explain her efforts to sensitize UN staff about sexual exploitation and abuse and the policy the UN has adopted to deal with that problem.

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