Fighting sexual abuse in peacekeeping mission: an imperative [fr]
Sexual abuses and exploitation - Security Council - Explanation of vote by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 11 March 2016
France voted in favour of resolution 2272 (2016), prepared by the United States Mission, a resolution that strengthens the fight against sexual abuse in peacekeeping operations.
We believe that the fight against sexual abuse is an absolute imperative, both moral and political, and deserves the Council’s full attention as an interlinked complement to the work undertaken by the General Assembly on these issues. At stake are not only our most fundamental values but also the reputation and effectiveness of peacekeeping operations personnel. Sexual abuse cannot and should no longer be treated as a simple disciplinary or behavioural problem and tackled at the administrative level. The United Nations had to provide a political and operational response to the allegations made and confirmed cases by providing clear guidelines to commanders and troops deployed on the ground. The goal is to strengthen the fight against sexual abuse not only within peacekeeping operations but also when committed by forces that are not under the command of the United Nations but contribute to such operations.
Unfortunately, today peacekeeping operations account for 70 per cent of the allegations of sexual abuse within the United Nations system. At a time when the Secretary-General is undertaking determined action, the Council’s support is indispensable.
Let us recall once again that sexual abuse is unacceptable, regardless of the perpetrator or source of these actions — military, police, civilian personnel, United Nations or non-United Nations. The colour of the helmet or uniform means little to the victims. The resolution allows us to send a clear message to all actors: Blue Helmets, police, civilian personnel and international forces. We must do our utmost to translate into reality the zero-tolerance objective, which must serve more than ever before as our compass and our shared obligation.
France, which contributes to peacekeeping operations, has consistently during the negotiation process supported this broad-based approach, which sends a strong message to all players. I should note, however, that we do not intend here to collectively stigmatize the soldiers who bravely fight for our Organization’s ideals; that is not, and will never be, our intention. This issue is too important for us not to all mobilize in a collective spirit of goodwill. Everyone must feel heeded. This is why an in-depth, inclusive dialogue with the troop-contributing countries is so important, for the sake of efficiency, in order to achieve the result that we all wish to see. It is vital for everyone to take ownership of the zero-tolerance objective to which I have just referred.
We must meet this challenge. Our collective action will serve as the best possible reply to the Secretary-General’s call and, of course, to the victims. Rest assured that France’s determination in this respect is absolute, both nationally and in the framework of the United Nations. France will spare no effort in supporting the Secretary-General’s efforts aimed at strengthening our policy of zero tolerance for sexual abuse.
I should like to conclude by once again paying heartfelt tribute to all of the soldiers who are working for the maintenance of peace and to their invaluable contribution.