Although the UN Mission did not give details, international media reported that eight South African “blue helmets” had been detained over allegations of sexual abuse.
Zero tolerance policy
MONUSCO said the reports about the peacekeepers’ behaviour followed a series of measures that had been proactively implemented across the Mission area to ensure compliance with UN values and standards of conduct.
MONUSCO contacted the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services and took “precautionary measures” in line with the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse, and other serious misconduct.
“These initial measures include the suspension, detention and confinement of the peacekeepers involved, pending further details of these allegations, including a full investigation,” the statement said.
The UN has a three-pronged strategy to address all forms of misconduct including sexual exploitation and abuse, covering prevention, enforcement of UN standards of conduct and remedial action.
In 2016, the UN appointed a Special Coordinator tasked with improving the response to sexual exploitation and abuse, followed by the appointment of a Victims Rights Advocate one year later.