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

  • Dieppe: Veterans return to site of Canada’s deadliest day in WWII

    Canada News CTV News
    More than 900 Canadian soldiers were killed in the French coastal town of Dieppe on August 19, 1942, the bloodiest day for Canada in the entirety of the Second World War. Saturday will mark the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. Source
  • Steve Bannon 'going to war' at Breitbart after Trump ousts White House Chief Strategist [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon, a forceful but divisive presence in President Donald Trump’s White House, is leaving. Trump accepted Bannon’s resignation on Friday, ending a turbulent seven months for his chief strategist, the latest to depart from the president’s administration in turmoil. Source
  • John McCain completes round of radiation, chemo for brain cancer

    World News CTV News
    PHOENIX -- The daughter of U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona says the 80-year-old lawmaker has completed the first round of radiation and chemotherapy as he battles an aggressive form of brain cancer. Meghan McCain also tweeted Friday afternoon that her father's "resilience & strength is incredible. Source
  • U.S. denies Alberta man's request to visit sick mom with brain tumour

    Canada News CTV News
    A Canadian permanent resident is hoping for a miracle after the United States rejected his request to visit his ailing mother, who is suffering from a brain tumour. Alan Arellano grew up in San Diego, where his mother Theresa still lives. Source
  • Lucky loon sought out Alberta campers to save it from fishing gear

    Canada News CTV News
    NORDEGG, Alta. -- This is a story about one lucky loon. Don Gibson was standing with his family on a dock in Fish Lake Provincial Park in west-central Alberta last weekend when he noticed a normally standoffish loon -- one of a group of five that call the lake home -- swimming toward them. Source
  • Photographer faces $185M lawsuit over photos of underage ballet dancers

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    They were aspiring ballet dancers who travelled from Toronto and cities across Canada to realize their dreams at the renowned Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. But in a proposed $185 million class action lawsuit filed by Sarah Doucet of Toronto on behalf of her fellow underage students, she alleges they were coerced into posing for lurid photos by teacher Bruce Monk who then sold their images online without their knowledge or consent. Source
  • Canadian killed in Barcelona terror attack identified as PM confirms four others injured

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed one Canadian was killed and four others were hurt Thursday when a van plowed into crowds of tourists on a popular street in Barcelona. Trudeau is offering his condolences to the family members and friends of those injured. Source
  • Dark day at Dieppe remembered 75 years later

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    There has never been a worse — or bloodier — day in Canada’s long, proud military history than Aug. 19, 1942. Seventy-five years ago today, 5,000 Canadians, accompanied by 1,000 British commandos and a handful of U.S. Source
  • Billionaire investor Carl Icahn steps down as Trump economic advisor

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has lost another informal adviser from the business world: billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who gave the White House guidance on its deregulation efforts. Icahn said in a letter to Trump released Friday that he is stepping down to prevent “partisan bickering” about his unofficial role that Democrats suggested could benefit him financially. Source
  • Jihadists behind Barcelona terror attack

    World News Toronto Sun
    Moussa Oukabir was a “good boy.” Now, he’s toe-tagged in a Spanish morgue ventilated by police bullets. If not the mastermind behind the heinous slaughter of innocents in Barcelona, the 17-year-old has become the face of the ISIS cabal behind it. Source