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United States says countries must punish UN troops for sexual abuse

United States says countries must punish UN troops for sexual abuse

The meeting, however, wasn't without controversy as Russian Federation argued that the role of the new mission remains unclear, and Brazil objected to the addition of new requirements that will set accountability standards for troop- and police-contributing nations charged with carrying out the U.N. mandate in hard environments such as Haiti.

Adopting a resolution here yesterday, the UN Security Council unanimously decided that the UN Stabilisation Mission, known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, would gradually draw down its military component during the next six months, finally withdrawing from Haiti by October 15.

Now the U.N. Security Council has chose to withdraw all the peacekeepers by October.

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Thursday urged all countries including Sri Lanka that provide troops for U.N. peacekeeping missions to hold soldiers accountable for sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children in Haiti. To date, there have been over 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse, 300 of those involving children, according to the AP report.

The U.S. ambassador quoted a recent report by the Associated Press news agency on a sex ring allegedly run by Sri Lankan peacekeepers who lured hungry teenage boys and girls by offering them snacks and cookies.

But their mission - and their image - started unraveling after Haiti's catastrophic 2010 natural disaster.

The United States is now reviewing the U.N.'s 16 far-flung peacekeeping operations to assess costs and effectiveness.

It was part of a larger AP investigation of United Nations missions during the past 12 years that found an estimated 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and United Nations personnel around the world.

An Associated Press investigation into a sexual offence committed by a U.N peacekeeping soldier on his mission duty has shaken the foundations of the worldwide organization and provoked harsh reactions by the global powers.

FILE - This Monday, July 11, 2011 file photo shows silhouettes of United Nations peacekeepers from Brazil at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Responding to the AP report, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric had said Wednesday: "We need to address the problem, first, for the victims, but also to ensure that the perception of peacekeeping is not a wrong one".

Jacqueline Nono said she was 17 when she started having sex with a Sri Lankan peacekeeper for money or gifts. "I just see them drive by here like they are on a holiday", said Jean Wilnive, who sells live poultry from a perch near a bustling Port-au-Prince intersection. Haiti was free of cholera until 2010, when peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river.

"Haiti has been a playground for the United Nations", the 43-year-old shop assistant told the AP as part of its investigation. It has suffered major natural disasters, including an quake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew past year.

Dodds reported from London.

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