Sexual exploitation: MINUSTAH raises awareness among students

Friday, 07 July 2017

Port-au-Prince | MINUSTAH

As part of its “theatre in schools” initiative to promote a culture of peace among young Haitians, MINUSTAH representatives conducted a workshop with 120 students, 50 of them girls, to raise awareness of the United Nations zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse that all Blue Helmets are expected to adhere to.

Using theatre in a unique way to approach this delicate subject, staff from the Conduct and Discipline Team visited four high schools in the Haitian capital, between 19 April and 17 May.

Financed by the Mission’s Office of Strategic Communications and Public Information since 2015, the theatre in schools project offers a space for youth to get together and reflect on important issues, such as community and gender violence, and teaches them to portray these issues through theatre. The programme is produced by the Quatre Chemins association, and consists of thematic lectures and workshops.

In the margins, MINUSTAH staff members helped students identify what constitutes sexual exploitation and abuse, understand the United Nations Zero Tolerance Policy and learn how to report an allegation.

The young participants also received a silicone bracelet inscribed with the telephone number of the Conduct and Discipline Unit.

“You only use this number if you, or someone you know has been abused by a MINUSTAH representative,” explained Martine Lamothe, MINUSTAH Conduct and Discipline Officer, while handing out the bracelets. “In the case of a rape committed by someone in the community, call the police at 114.”

“Informing youth is part of our mission,” said Ms. Lamothe. “We also reach out to mission personnel to raise awareness of our rules of conduct and the United Nations zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.”

MINUSTAH’s Conduct and Discipline Unit organizes regular sessions to raise awareness of sexual exploitation and abuse for the civil, military, and police components of the mission.

The team has also worked with local communities to raise awareness on how to go about reporting cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. In partnership with the mission’s Office of Strategic Communications and Public Information, the Conduct and Discipline Team has organized more than 50 training sessions that were open to the general public. Many of these sessions targeted women’s associations and community groups.