The Lancet comenta o relato do Save the Children UK onde há relatos de abuso por funcionários de ONGs e dos capacetes azuis da ONU no Sudão, Costa do Marfim e....Haiti. Hum, são tropas brasileiras? O que haverá de mais substancioso nesse relato?
The exploitation of children is nothing new. For example, as we have previously reported, roughly 1·2 million children are traded as commodities (trafficked) every year. So it is rather surprising that a report published last week by Save the Children UK managed to cut through the usual apathetic response given to this uncomfortable subject and cause shockwaves. The report focuses on the sexual exploitation of children by UN peacekeepers and non-governmental-organisation (NGO) workers in three countries—Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti, and Sudan. The researchers organised focus groups in the three countries and conducted in-depth interviews with individuals. The result is a collection of moving accounts from children about the abuse they have experienced or witnessed by UN peacekeepers and NGO workers. The feeling of helplessness evoked by the striking imbalance of power between the children and their supposed saviours leaps off the page. Children are often afraid to report sexual abuse, but in this context, the threat that the rewards of trading sexual favours, such as food and safety, might be withdrawn if they speak out, makes the behaviour of the all-powerful peacekeepers even more appalling. With perverse irony, the Save the Children report coincides with the 60-year anniversary celebrations of UN peacekeepers worldwide. As part of the celebrations, the Under-Secretary-General of Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, paid tribute to the sacrifice and dedication of the men and women in the peacekeeping forces who are prepared to risk their lives in the pursuit of the noble goals of the UN. Currently, almost 130000 military, police, and civilian personnel are serving in 20 UN peace operations throughout the world. It is unfortunate that the actions of a few should tarnish the reputation of the whole peacekeeping force. There is no doubt about the commitment from those at the top to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse. Last week at the Wilton Park Conference entitled Women targeted or affected by armed conflict: what role for military peacekeepers? UN Director-General, Ban Ki-Moon, said that the UN is committed to a zero-tolerance policy against sexual exploitation or abuse, and also that there is a zero-complacency policy to investigate such allegations. The UN and the NGO community have been aware of the exploitative behaviour of some peacekeepers and NGO staff for several years and have developed many initiatives to try and stamp out such despicable practices. These initiatives include the development of interagency bodies and task forces to tackle the problem. Standards of conduct and guidance have been specifically developed for aid workers and peacekeepers. UN and NGO staff have been trained and appointed to work on the ground to help tackle sexual exploitation and abuse and more female peacekeepers have been deployed. The Save the Children report recommends the formation of an effective local complaints mechanism for reporting abuse and a new global watchdog to monitor and report efforts to tackle abuse and exploitation. This watchdog would sit within the UN system but would be developed and owned by the international community. All this activity has merit and will undoubtedly have some effect. But without tackling the root causes of sexual exploitation and also re-examining the role, responsibility, and accountability of the UN, such measures will never fulfil their potential. The UN does not have the authority to discipline peacekeepers found to have abused their power. The member states where the peacekeepers are from—currently 118 countries—have this responsibility. In some of these countries it is not illegal to have sex with minors and child abuse might also be acceptable behaviour. Yet despite the fact that all but two states—Somalia and the USA—have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, these children have been horrifically violated. 60 years ago battered and bruised by World War II, the world looked with optimism to a future where the life of every man, woman, boy, and girl would be equal. This hope was enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. However, as featured in the annual report from Amnesty International published last week, this utopia is a long way off. Injustice, inequality, and impunity are the hallmarks of today's world. Amnesty International has challenged world leaders to apologise for six decades of human rights failure and to recommit themselves to deliver concrete improvements. Unless every member state is prepared to take human rights seriously, egregious acts, such as the sexual exploitation of children by peacekeepers, will continue to go unpunished despite the UN's best efforts