Open Seminar

Vol. 9.

Why is the UN failing to mitigate sexual exploitation and abuse in Peace Operations? - From social behavioral science perspectives

  • Date: 2019.4.12 (Fri.) 17:00-19:00
  • Speaker: Marsha Henry (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), Ai Kihara-Hunt (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)

Sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) has been publicly reported since the 1990s in UN Peace Operations. Since the beginning of this Century, the UN has been addressing the issue, and more seriously in recent years. Rules and regulations have been put in place. New policies have been introduced and existing ones clarified. Messages are sent to all those who are involved that there are consequences to the ones who commit SEA and those who tolerate SEA. Yet it persists. What is going wrong? This seminar will introduce the nature and scale of the problem, what the UN has put in place in terms of rules and accountability machinery, and question whether the assumptions are correct in the UN's approach. In particular, it will address

  1. peacekeeping industry/institution: mapping of the multiple actors, policies and laws which reflect the conceptual framing of peacekeeping as an architecture, project and system of power;
  2. training gaps: missing from training materials and sessions is discussions of sexuality, sexual health, safeguarding, consent and cultures of sexual and gender equality in local, national and international cultural spaces; and
  3. gender relations and expectations in the military: a more nuanced understanding of military sub-cultures, organizational demands, available gender and occupational roles and the links between gender and militarization.