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DPKO stresses conduct and a duty of care


Over the past year, DPKO set in motion sweeping reforms of the culture of peacekeeping, initiated in the wake of revelations of sexual exploitation and abuse on peacekeeping missions during the previous year.


In June, the General Assembly approved a wide-ranging package of recommendations proposed by the Secretary-General's Advisor on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Peacekeeping Personnel, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein.


Subsequently DPKO established Conduct and Discipline units at UN headquarters and in the eight largest peacekeeping operations, prepared a far-reaching policy on victims assistance, launched communications and public outreach strategies, designed and implemented mandatory training for personnel in all categories, strengthened management accountability, worked to improve living conditions and welfare for peacekeepers and made progress in amending legal agreements of various categories of peacekeeping personnel to include prohibitions on sexual exploitation and abuse. This included amendments to the memoranda of understanding between the UN and troop-contributing countries. The Secretary-General also appointed a Group of Legal Experts to study ways to strengthen the criminal accountability of UN personnel who commit crimes while serving on UN peacekeeping operations. DPKO is also working with Member States to ensure effective follow up when offenders are repatriated.


A task force led by the UN Secretariat's two high-level policy groups--the Executive Committee on Peace and Security and the Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs--worked throughout the year to develop the details of these policy changes. Meanwhile, the Deputy Secretary-General visited five peacekeeping operations to carry the Secretary- Generalís message of zero tolerance for sexual misconduct.


In the field, investigations into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse continued, now handled by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). A comprehensive data base is being developed to track and report all misconduct cases. Since January 2004, investigations were completed of some 291 peacekeeping mission personnel, resulting in the dismissal of 16 civilians, the repatriation of 16 members of formed police units and 137 repatriations or rotations home on disciplinary grounds of military personnel, including six commanders.


The Peacekeeperís DUTY OF CARE


  • You are privileged to have been selected to serve in a UN peacekeeping operation. This privilege confers upon you serious responsibilities towards the population you have come to serve.


  • When serving in a peacekeeping operation, you represent the United Nations. The Blue Beret should be worn with pride and with awareness of its meaning to the world.


  • The trust bestowed upon the United Nations and the mandate entrusted to the United Nations by the international community call upon you to exercise the highest standards of professional conduct and behaviour, whether on or off duty.


  • UN peacekeepers are deployed into extraordinary situations in which local populations are often at extreme risk. The entire population that we serve are considered beneficiaries of our assistance. It is the duty of each peacekeeper to protect the vulnerable and to refrain from doing harm.


  • UN peacekeepers have a unique opportunity to help populations emerging from difficult conflict situations and to contribute to a lasting peace and stability. Because of our sensitive role, misbehaviour of one single peacekeeper can diminish the positive role of the entire UN. Maintain respect for the local population and the highest standards of professionalism at all times.


  • Any form of exploitation or abuse of the local population is unacceptable. UN standards of conduct forbid sexual exploitation and abuse. These standards apply to all peacekeepers irrespective of local customs or laws, or the customs or laws of your own country.

Prepared by the Peace and Security Section, United Nations Department of Public Information.

© United Nations 2006