UN: Civilians regain dignity after abuse by peacekeeping mission

Women regain trust after abuse and learn how to improve their livelihoods Women regain trust after abuse and learn how to improve their livelihoods MONUSCO/ Michael Ali

6 July 2020

United Nations-led trust fund assists victims of sexual abuse and exploitation with complaint networks

After abuse and exploitation, affected women and girls in developing countries are often left behind. Their trust in life and aid workers might be fractured, when their dignity was violated after abuse by members of an international peacekeeping mission. As a reaction to that, the United Nations (UN) trust fund aims at supporting victims of gender based violence by UN personnel to regain dignity, give them the chance to learn new skills and improve their livelihood.
Restrictions on movements due to Covid-19 have made communication with victims more difficult, and even some community gatherings have been suspended. UN Conduct and Discipline Teams and Field Victims’ Rights Advocates have been vigilant in maintaining contact with victims and now are providing support through interim measures.

According to the trust fund’s latest annual report released on July 6, the efforts of the projects are having positive effects on the lives of abused women and children born as a result of sexual exploitation. Over the past year, six projects and also community-based complaint networks were launched in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In Liberia the fund supported training of trainers. Furthermore, women are educated on the risks associated with sexual exploitation and abuse and how to report it.

UN experts emphasized that the feedback from victims and their ideas for the future are needed to improve their livelihoods and end sexual abuse. Jane Connors from  UN Victims’ Rights Advocate expressed her commitment in order to end abuse by UN personnel. “We need to appreciate what these wrongs do to victims and their communities; what these wrongs do to the very purpose of the United Nations’ work, because these wrongs do indeed fracture trust”, she said.

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Author: Theresa Bender-Säbelkampf

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