Canada urged to lead fight against UN peacekeeper sex abuse

OTTAWA -- With the Trudeau Liberals pledging a return to peacekeeping, Canada is being urged to play a leading role in stamping out what is being described as rampant sexual abuse by United Nations peacekeepers.

See Full Article

Stephen Lewis, a former Canadian ambassador to the UN, is one of the leaders of an international coalition for the creation of an independent management board to oversee UN peacekeeping.

Lewis, co-chair of the Code Blue coalition, wants Canada to lead the charge in UN corridors to wrestle control of peacekeeping away from the UN and place it with an independent board, similar to a bankruptcy trustee.

Lewis and others are accusing top UN brass of turning a blind eye to systemic sexual abuse by peacekeepers.

The coalition has been calling for UN reform following the scandal that erupted last year in the Central African Republic with child sex abuse allegations against French soldiers involving boys as young as nine.

Another Canadian, retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps, co-authored a report released last month that accused the UN of a "gross institutional failure" because of how it responded to the abuse allegations.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commissioned Deschamps's report last year after Lewis's organization raised concerns about the scandal.

Lewis said the Canadian government can lead a diplomatic push to clean up peacekeeping because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants Canada to play a bigger role in future missions, while re-engaging more broadly with the UN.

"I think that Canada has a very considerable role to play in making certain that sexual exploitation and abuse is high on the agenda of what we do around peacekeeping hereafter."

Canada has already played a lead role behind the scenes to press Ban to appoint Deschamps and her panel to review the allegations, said Lewis.

But with Canada's new UN ambassador assuming his post in New York in April, and the Liberal government's renewed focus on multilateralism, "there can be a new tone set on the part of Canada," said Lewis.

The coalition is pressing the UN to lift the blanket immunity that protects its diplomats because it says many civilian employees know about peacekeeping abuses, but have done nothing to stop it.

Paula Donovan, the American women's rights activist who is Lewis's co-chair, said Canada has a vested interest in cleaning up peacekeeping because "they essentially invented peacekeeping, and I think many Canadians feel proudly attached to that legacy."

Backed by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, former external affairs minister Lester Pearson proposed the first UN peacekeeping mission in 1956 to help defuse the Suez Crisis -- for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize a year later.

In recent decades, however, Canada's contribution to UN peacekeeping has dwindled to a few dozen troops.

Canada is still one of the top 10 financial supporters of UN peacekeeping missions, but Trudeau has said he wants to see Canadian troops playing a more active role in future missions.

Trudeau has said he expects Canada can contribute specialized leadership, such as engineers, or leverage the bilingualism of senior officers instead of contributing large numbers of infantry troops.

Developing countries such as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have become the leading contributors of troops to peacekeeping missions since the passing of Canada's heyday in the 1990s.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • France heads to the polls after unpredictable presidential campaign

    World News CBC News
    France goes to the polls on Sunday for the first round of a bitterly fought presidential election, crucial to the future of Europe and a closely-watched test of voters' anger with the political establishment. Nearly 47 million voters will decide, under tight security, whether to back a pro-EU centrist newcomer, a scandal-ridden veteran conservative who wants to slash public spending, a far-left eurosceptic admirer of Fidel Castro or appoint France's first woman president, to shut borders and…
  • Conservative candidates need to step up to the front

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    News flash! There is a leadership race underway within the Conservative Party of Canada. What? Really? How long has this been going on? Forever it seems, not that many have noticed amid the drama of the ruling Liberals’ marijuana legislation, its pandering Islamophobia motion, its leader’s questionable Aga Khan vacation destination, its outright lie about changing the federal voting system before the next election, and the tabling of an omnibus bill that they supposedly would never do. Source
  • Supply ship named for John Glenn arrives at space station

    World News Toronto Sun
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A supply ship bearing John Glenn’s name arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday. Astronauts used the station’s big robot arm to grab the capsule, as the craft flew 400 kilometres above Germany. Source
  • Bank of Canada governor 'happy' to see plan for GTA housing market

    Canada News CBC News
    Measures to cool the housing market in the Greater Toronto Area have received a warm response from Canada's central banker, who said Saturday it should have some effect on runaway housing prices. "I'm happy there are measures," Stephen Poloz, the governor of the Bank of Canada, told reporters during financial meetings in Washington. Source
  • 'There's nothing we can do': Rigaud, Que. residents waiting out flood

    Canada News CTV News
    Firefighters and police officers made the rounds Saturday checking on people in Rigaud, Que. who decided to stay in their homes despite the recent flood. The small town, located west of Montreal near the Ontario border, declared a state of emergency Thursday after a combination of heavy rainfall and spring thaw flooded the region. Source
  • 'There's nothing we can do': Rigaud, Que. residents wait out flood

    Canada News CTV News
    Firefighters and police officers made the rounds Saturday checking on people in Rigaud, Que. who decided to stay in their homes despite the recent flood. The small town, located west of Montreal near the Ontario border, declared a state of emergency Thursday after a combination of heavy rainfall and spring thaw flooded the region. Source
  • Calgarian who joined ISIS added to U.S. most-wanted terrorist list

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Once thought killed while fighting alongside ISIS forces in Iraq, a Calgarian is now one of the United States' most-wanted terrorists. In a decision by the U.S. State Department, Farah Mohamed Shirdon, 24, of Calgary, has been dubbed a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Source
  • Edmonton police seek 2 'people of interest' in dead toddler case

    Canada News CBC News
    Edmonton police are asking for more help from the public in identifying two people of interest regarding a dead toddler who was found Friday in the north end of the city. Police released a photo Saturday afternoon of a man and a woman. Source
  • 2 arrested in Edmonton dead toddler case

    Canada News CBC News
    Edmonton police are asking for more help from the public in identifying two people of interest regarding a dead toddler who was found Friday in the north end of the city. Police released a photo Saturday afternoon of a man and a woman. Source
  • Vibrator thief told sex shop clerk she had HIV before lunging at him with needle

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A woman found guilty of two thefts and threatening with a needle will have her day of reckoning at the Sudbury Courthouse on May 2, whether she is physically in court or not. “There will be an order I'm not opposed to,” Shawana's lawyer, Denis Michel, told Ontario Court Justice Karen Lische Wednesday concerning his client Naomi Shawana, who has refused to attend court on numerous occasions in recent months for her sentencing involving two armed robberies in January, 2016. Source