Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Save the Childen Abuse Report

Damn, according to this report by David Clarke, Save the Children UK just issued a report about widespread abuse by peacekeepers.

Two days ago, I tried to defend the United Nations Peacekeepers.

My post was saying that I reject the idea that the UN leadership is intentionally promoting rape as a tactic, just as I reject the indictment that the US leadership wanted for the stupidity of Abu Greib to happen.

The very fact that Save the Children underwent a multi-year survey and issued a scathing report criticizing misconduct under its watch indicates that the leadership of relief efforts don't want the abuse to happen.

The report talks of a concerted efforts to encourage people receiving aid to report abuse. They have training programs like 'Safeguarding Children Policy’ in place. The UN regularly spouts out with things like the 2004 Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (pdf). Stop Violence Against Women lists some of the UN efforts to address abuse. I am a bit dense, but it seems to me that the Stop Rape Now by the United Nations is saying that the UN wants to stop rape and abhors groups that use rape as a tactic.

Even after reading the Save the Children report, It appears to me that the primary cause of abuse in disaster relief efforts isn't the moral defects of the peacekeepers. The primary cause of the abuse is the vulerability of people after disasters. People in dire situations are extremely vulnerable. Vulnerable people are prone to bad choices and abuse. Peacekeepers are responding to that vulnerability. The reports says: "Without parents, many children are forced to use transactional sex as a survival tactic."

As mentioned in my apologetics post for the UN, there is almost always a boom in births following a disaster. Abuse and bad decisions follow disasters. Such is the nature of disasters. The need needs to be addressed on multiple fronts.

Save The Children recommends including more child protective services efforts in disaster relief efforts. They want better procedures for reporting and prosecution of abuse. UNFPA wants to help address the problem with concerted family planning efforts (including distribution of contraception) in disaster relief. I believe that a multifront approach that included both the conservative and liberal efforts would help reduce the child abuse and population booms that follow disasters.

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