Guterres warns of rise in UN peacekeeper deaths

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United Nations, March 29 (IANS) The number of UN peacekeepers killed in the line of duty nearly doubled last year, increasing from 34 in 2016 to 59 in 2017, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday.

During a Security Council high-level debate about UN Peacekeeping operations, Guterres said that UN troops have “too often in the past… been reduced to waiting in a defensive posture, giving hostile forces time and space to plan attacks.”

He recognized that Blue Helmets “are often under-equipped, under-prepared and unready” for the dangerous environments in which they operate, and announced that the UN is implementing new measures, such as strengthening training and reviewing medical support.

In addition, he said that the UN has requested independent reviews of peacekeeping missions, aimed at “refining their priorities and configuration, while assessing the viability of mandates and political processes.”

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Guterres recalled that, under his leadership, the UN has implemented a new approach to sexual exploitation and abuse carried out during peacekeeping missions, by ensuring that “victims have a clear way to report allegations” to end impunity and help prevent future cases.

In recent years, several cases of sexual abuse carried out by Blue Helmets have been revealed, notably in the Central African Republic, where an internal UN investigation found that recurrent accusations of sexual abuse showed the existence of a “systemic” problem.

–IANS

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