United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres inherited a festering scandal that, by all indications, grew worse under his predecessor and has sullied the world body for the better part of a decade: alleged sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers.
To his credit, Mr. Guterres, on the job just over two months, wasted no time proposing reforms to stem the sickening stigma that hangs over U.N. peacekeeping missions in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and South Sudan.
In Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s last years, alleged sexual abuse cases increased from 99 in 2015 to 145 last year. Most despicable is that more than half of the allegations last year involved children.
Guterres said he wants to end impunity for sex-crime perpetrators and promised more openness in U.N. investigations. And to speed up investigations, he will request that U.N. member states “‘consider procedures’ to hold back payments to troop-contributing countries,” Fox News reports.
But Guterres’ reforms didn’t impress Code Blue, which has demanded better accountability from Turtle Bay. A spokeswoman says the latest recommendations fail to resolve the “decades-old conflict of interests that puts the U.N. on the side of both the accused and the accuser.”
Meaningful reform is long overdue. And unlike its predecessor, the Trump administration is not likely to wait long for the U.N. to clean up this mess.
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