Preventing sexual exploitation and abuse: champions series

Date: 
Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Goma | MONUSCO

Force Commander of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Lt. General Derick Mbuyiselo Mgwebi, has a message to his peacekeepers about sexual exploitation and abuse.

Force Commander of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Lt. General Derick Mbuyiselo Mgwebi, has a message to his peacekeepers about sexual exploitation and abuse:

"Let’s respect ourselves as military professionals; let’s respect our countries in terms of the image and credibility of our own countries; and let’s respect the United Nations because the image and the credibility of the UN is at stake when it comes to the behaviour and the conduct of peacekeepers."

In a video message, the Force Commander had strong words about what is expected.

What does the peacekeeping force do to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse?

When they come to any mission, especially MONUSCO, we make sure that during the induction, we inform them about the challenges of [sexual exploitation and abuse], the policies of the UN.We also give them the copies of the Force Commander directives where they will be told what to do and not to do, and the areas which are out of bounds, and we also appoint focal points within their contingents so that they can be trained and become the trainers of trainers.

We also work with the various communities where are forces are deployed so that those communities are also sensitized and they can assist us in monitoring that the soldiers do the right things and report any deviance.

What do you say to Member States who have peacekeepers in the field?  

First, make sure that their soldiers are educated and informed about the policies of the UN when it comes to sexual exploitation and abuse, because it speaks to the pride and the image of those countries if something wrong happens.

Two, they must put money towards facilities and welfare of their soldiers on the ground and must be able to organize means and ways to send their soldiers back home so they can have leave to at least interact with their families and their loved ones back home. When it comes to discipline, they must be able to, as quickly as possible, send national investigation officers on the ground to investigate the case. 

What is your message to your peacekeepers?

As military professionals, we are trained to take care of people. And,therefore, it is expected of us, when we find ourselves in conflict situations, when the populations are suffering, that we do not add more suffering to the local population.

Let’s respect ourselves as military professionals; let’s respect our countries in terms of the image and credibility of our own countries; and let’s respect the United Nations because the image and the credibility of the UN is at stake when it comes to the behaviour and the conduct of peacekeepers, more so peacekeepers in uniform.

So my message is: together, let us serve humanity and be a source of hope.
 

Watch the full message to peacekeepers about preventing sexual exploitation and abuse: https://youtu.be/VlXAbjS7GnQ 

(To download the video, click https://we.tl/RUePnN94MX)