Posted by: africanpressorganization | 20 August 2008

Liberia / Latest UNMIL Sexual Exploitation and Abuse ( SEA) report shows a decline in reported allegations, as UN Envoy urges zero tolerance to SEA

Liberia / Latest UNMIL Sexual Exploitation and Abuse ( SEA) report shows a decline in reported allegations, as UN Envoy urges zero tolerance to SEA


MONROVIA, Liberia, August 20, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A new Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) report from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) covering the period January to June 2008 says only five (5) allegations of SEA were reported during the period. These allegations involving UNMIL personnel are four less than the nine (9) reported in the period from July-December 2007.


In the report released today, out of two allegations, one was not substantiated, while investigation into the other is ongoing. The third reported allegation led to repatriation on administrative grounds of the personnel prior to completion of investigation by UNMIL. Of the remaining two allegations, one staff member resigned for unrelated reasons prior to the on-set of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) investigation. The personnel connected with the last SEA allegation is under investigation by OIOS. The final investigation report is awaited. The OIOS is an independent office that assists the UN Secretary-General in fulfilling his internal oversight responsibilities in respect of the resources and staff of the Organization through monitoring, internal audit, inspection, evaluation and investigation.


Releasing the mission’s latest SEA report, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj said “we are happy that the number of reported SEA allegations has gone down, but we are concerned about the possibility of under reporting.” On sensitizing people at the community level on SEA, the SRSG added, “UNMIL has provided training on prevention and reporting of SEA for 700 members of 45 local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who will in turn train their own communities; and all categories of UNMIL personnel are targeted from induction to refresher training to ensure that they remain on their best behavior and strictly abide by the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Tolerance policy on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.” Despite these efforts, the UN Envoy added that the mission will remain firm and resolute in ensuring that appropriate disciplinary measures are instituted for any proven SEA misconduct.


UNMIL’s Conduct and Discipline Unit (CDU) coordinated the
SEA training workshops by a national consultant in selected communities in River Gee, Bomi, Maryland, Grand Kru, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Nimba, Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount counties. These training sessions raised
awareness on SEA-related issues and strengthened the capacity of local communities to respond to incidents of SEA involving UNMIL personnel. The training targeted women and youth groups, traditional leaders, teachers, community-based organizations and local NGOs within close proximity to UN installations and border areas.


In addition to the compulsory SEA induction training for all categories of peacekeeping personnel during the reporting period, the CDU trained 2,485 personnel. This figure represents an increase from the 1,749 trained by the CDU during the same period in 2007. For the military component, UNMIL through its Integrated Mission Training Cell conducted training and awareness-raising on SEA for 23,483 military contingent personnel between January-June 2008, compared to 14,533 during the last reporting period. This figure includes military personnel who were trained more than once.


UNMIL has continued to engage other national stakeholders by participating actively in the Gender-based Violence Taskforce, chaired by the Ministry of Gender and Development to raise awareness on SEA through formal and informal training. The taskforce places emphasis on increasing awareness of the UN’s Zero Tolerance policy to SEA, and uses standardized training modules designed to strengthen the capacity of local communities to address SEA. Members of the taskforce comprise the Government of Liberia, the UN family and local and international NGOs.




SOURCE : Mission of UN in Liberia


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