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Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peace Operations

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Challenges and Developments

image of Journal of International Peacekeeping

Since 2003, the UN has sought to develop responses to combat sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel serving on peace operations. Almost 15 years later, the UN is still facing challenges in dealing effectively with allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by peacekeepers. With the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2272 (2016) on 11 March 2016; the UN Secretary-General’s reports of 16 February and 23 June 2016; and General Assembly Resolution A/RES/70/286 in 2016; the UN appears to have stepped up its efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. The first part of this paper seeks to outline the development of the UN’s strategy to deal with sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. The second part identifies the key issues that underlie the UN’s strategy. The third part reflects on three components of that strategy: the zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, the accountability of UN peacekeepers where allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse have been substantiated, and reparations for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers.

Affiliations: 1: Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne,


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