The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) announced on Wednesday that “strong measures” have been taken against 8 UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over “serious misconduct.”
UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, stated in his daily press briefing on Thursday that the peacekeepers involved in the case were contingent members of the MONUSCO deployed at a base in the Eastern DRC. In violation of MONUSCO’s non-fraternization policy, the peacekeepers were found “fraternizing, after curfew hours, at an out-of-bounds bar known to be a place where transactional sex occurs,” and also physically assaulting and threatening the UN military police in charge of the resulting investigation.
The UN has taken initial measures against the persons involved, including suspension, detention and confinement, pending a full investigation. The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the UN’s internal oversight body, has been informed of the allegations, and a National Investigation Officer will be appointed to investigate the case in collaboration with the OIOS. The UN also reiterated its standing on zero tolerance towards sexual exploitation and abuse.
Peacekeeping is one of the tools for the UN to assist host countries in restoring peace and security in their territory. According to the UN, peacekeepers could be civilian, military or police personnel, whose roles and responsibilities include monitoring ceasefires, protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections and minimizing the risk of land-mines.
MONUSCO, UN’s peacekeeping operation in the DRC, was formed in accordance with Security Council resolution 1925, with a mission to “support the Government of the DRC in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.”