Open Seminar

Vol. 15.

UN Conduct: From Social to Legal Accountability for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Peacekeeping Operations

  • Date: 9th August 2019, 17:00-19:00
  • Venue: Ito International Research Center, The University of Tokyo
  • Speaker: Marsha Henry (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Gender Studies, The University of Tokyo), Ai Kihara-Hunt (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo)

This seminar will focus on what the UN has done to address issues of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) in peacekeeping operations. Social accountability includes the training and tools introduced for peacekeeping personnel and operations in order to reduce social harms to beneficiaries. While teaching aids and risk assessment tools are meaningful at the interpersonal level, the introduction of Security Council resolutions has also enabled global recognition of the ongoing problems of sexual abuse and harassment within the humanitarian sector. Importantly, the rhetoric used by the UN outline its values goals could be more reflective of contemporary peacekeeper's professional cultures. However, legal accountability remains elusive for victims and survivors. This is partly because the accountability framework is complex and involves a complex series of procedures that need consistent monitoring, including multiple layers of investigation procedures; jurisdictional issues; immunity applications; suitable evidential standards for seeking accountability; judicial cooperation between different entities; protection of victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers; parallel to civil claims, paternity claims, and the UN Victim's Fund. Thus, what are the limits of such accountability measures in achieving social transformation within peacekeeping operations and beyond?