US salutes UN peacekeepers, expresses concern about abuse

WASHINGTON, May 29 (KUNA) — The US on Sunday lauded the 120,000 UN peacekeepers around the world to commemorate the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, but also expressed a strong concern about increasing cases of sexual abuse by troops.
“As the United States reinforces its decades-old commitment to UN peacekeeping, we remain deeply concerned by the recurring and widespread instances of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, military and civilian. Every effort must be made by all relevant parties to end all such instances, which only further harms communities suffering from the scars of conflict, and tarnishes the accomplishments of all those blue-helmeted personnel who serve with distinction,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.
“These brave men and women are asked by the international community to facilitate the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance, ensure order during elections, protect civilians from atrocities, and bolster stability in countries emerging from brutal civil wars,” he added.
Last year, US President Barack Obama issued a new Policy Memorandum on US Support to Peace Operations, “which charts expanded US efforts to bolster the pool of high-quality peacekeepers, including through the Global Peace Operations Initiative, the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership, and the International Police Peacekeeping Operations Support program,” Kerry noted.
“The United States remains firmly committed to the indispensable role of UN peacekeeping, and salutes the service and the sacrifice of the men and women who serve as UN peacekeepers,” he said.
The first UN peacekeeping mission was formed in 1948 to monitor the ceasefire between Arabs and Israelis in Palestine. (end)

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