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Misconduct in UN Peacekeeping Operations: actions that violate the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Grant number: 14/05452-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2014
Effective date (End): July 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - International Politics
Principal Investigator:Cláudia Alvarenga Marconi
Grantee:Tais Molina de Oliveira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Sociais. Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The United Nations was established in 1945 with four purposes: to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international problems and to promote respect for human rights; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations. It is the main institution in terms of numbers of members and institutional complexity. It also influences and is influenced by everything that happens on the international scenario. The UN is closely related to Human Rights, which emerged during the post-World War II. One can find these rights at the Charter of the United Nations and this International Organization has also written the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. During the 1970s and the 1980s, this issue area developed, was institutionalized and the aspects that are handled on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were specified in distinct documents and departments. One of them is about gender equality and its main treaty is called Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Adopted in 1979, it defines what this kind of discrimination is and establishes an agenda to end this problem and to guarantee the women's rights. This Convention is the basis for all UN programs for women. Not only does this Organization promote these rights, but it also should follow them. However, it is not what always happens at UN, especially involving its Peacekeeping Operations. These are activities performed by soldiers, policemen and civilians in the place where the conflict is happening with the purpose of implementing or monitoring the execution of actions trying to end or control conflicts. These operations have important and great functions, nevertheless, due to the behavior of some Blue Helmets, its results are not always good for the local population. Allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are very common and they have been spoiling the image and the efficiency of these missions. The most recurrent allegations are about raping, women trafficking, child pornography, forced prostitution and sex in order to get food. Since the 90's, multiple cases of sexual abuse committed by UN soldiers have been documented and publicized. This research project aims to study three cases of misconducts on the UN Peacekeeping Operations: in Democratic Republic of Congo, in Somalia and in Liberia, that is known by its special programme that intended to focus on gender issues. The main causes for this misconduct are absence of adequate militar training and the values promoted during the training, the impunity of the Blue Helmets and the fact that the victims of the misconduct do not denounce the sexual abuse and exploitation that they suffer. These actions go against the principles of the UN, Human Rights and, especially, Women Rights, the main focus on this research project. As a result of misconduct, the Peacekeeping Operations have their effectiveness put in doubt by the local population and by the international community. These attitudes are crimes committed by those who are supposed to take care of the victims and, in this sense, manifests a paradox that is going to be studied in this research. This, by its turn, is going to handle the causes, consequences and solutions for this problem that are presented by UN, NGOs and academics. With this purpose, the UN Peacekeeping Operations in Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Liberia are going to be studied. (AU)

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