It is time to reaffirm our pledge of peacekeeping to the world, and we can do so by taking a strong and clear stand against sexual abuse
Bangladeshi peacekeepers have made the country proud with their good work the world over.
But there is a dark side to the activities of our peacekeeping forces which threaten to undo the good reputation we have earned over the years by being a major contributing nation to the United Nations Peacekeeping mission — sexual exploitation and abuse.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, then, should be applauded for her firm stance that sexual violence perpetrated by members of the peacekeeping forces will not be tolerated.
To that end, PM Hasina has announced a $100,000 contribution to the victim support fund to weed out sexual abuse in the peacekeeping forces.
UN peacekeepers have the most solemn responsibility of maintaining order and stability in the more troubled parts of the world, and so it is especially egregious when our uniformed men perpetrate the terrible deed of sexual abuse in foreign lands.
The good image and credibility that our peacekeeping forces have built up in recent years, allegations of sexual abuse notwithstanding, have been due to, as the PM has point out, “strong moral values, effective motivation, and a high standard of discipline.”
Some exemplary punishment has been doled out in the past, but it has not been enough — to truly send a message to would-be perpetrators of sexual abuse, all violators should be swiftly investigated, prosecuted, and if found guilty, dismissed from service and imprisoned.
It is time to reaffirm our pledge of peacekeeping to the world, and we can do so by taking a strong and clear stand against sexual abuse.
Dhaka Tribune, September 20, 2017