The news reports are shocking and disgusting. In a report published by Save the Children, a British charity, it has emerged that UN peacekeepers in conflict zones have been abusing children as young as six. Yes six years old! After interviewing about 250 boys and girls, Save the Children found that UN peacekeepers were in the habit of exchanging soap, money, food and sometimes cell phones for sex. The interviews were conducted in Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti and Southern Sudan. The UN chief Ban Ki-Moon promised that an investigation will be conducted and that those found guilty will be punished.
What a shocker. The thought that the people entrusted with the task of bringing hope and peace to these regions are the very ones causing physical and psychological harm to children is simply despicable. This scandal also exposes the UN for the opaque bureaucracy that it is. How could this have gone on without the knowledge of New York? Don’t they have independent observers monitoring their aid missions to ensure that staff stick to the code of conduct?
If the investigation takes place as has been promised by Ban and these peacekeepers are found guilty, their punishment alone won’t be enough. The UN should compensate the families of the children that were abused. And in the future New York should keep a closer eye on its staff on peace keeping missions.
Finally, in order to avoid the mess all together, African and other similarly backward and inept governments should get their act together. It is the shocking inability of these governments to run their countries that necessitates the presence of UN peacekeepers in the first place. Perhaps the UN should have a clause stating that once a country has had peacekeepers for more than a given period of time then it should be put under a sort of “receivership.” It wouldn’t be re-colonization – as many nationalists in these countries would be quick to point out. It would be an attempt at bringing normal lives to people who’ve not lived normal lives for decades and who shouldn’t go hungry, remain ignorant and finally die because of the greed of some pin-head War Lords.