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Plenary Debate on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Implementing a Zero-Tolerance Policy (Agenda item 132)

Thursday, 20 June 2019
H.E. Ms. Kira Christianne D. Azucena Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations
General Assembly Hall, UNHQ


Mr. President,

Peacekeeping remains the flagship enterprise of the United Nations.

It is imperative therefore that issues that undermine this agenda, such as sexual exploitation and abuse, be given renewed attention.

We commend the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Team on improving the UN response to sexual exploitation and abuse to curb this scourge and rebuild the trust of affected communities. The purpose of peacekeeping is to prevent the humiliating abuses that go with conflict; when peacekeeping itself promotes these abuses the endeavor defeats its own purpose.

Mr. President,

This issue not only undermines the values and principles of the United Nations, it erodes the trust of the peoples we have vowed to protect. When those committed to bringing peace and safety inflict the worst features of war, they commit the worst betrayal of the UN mission. This is inexcusable. This is unacceptable. This is a disgrace. It has no place in the UN system.

Viewed in the context of the Protection of Civilians mandate of UN Peacekeeping Operations, this critical issue must be addressed aggressively through the following:

·         Robust pre-deployment and in-mission training programs that underscore leadership responsibility and accountability throughout the chain of command;

·         Appropriate information exchange on context-specific responses to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) cases; and

·         Innovative capacity-building initiatives based on best practices in overcoming a culture of impunity.

Mr. President,

Proud of its peacekeeping tradition for over 50 years in 19 countries and territories, the Philippines reiterates its strong and unequivocal support for the UN’s zero-tolerance policy against sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations and missions.

One case of sexual exploitation and abuse is one too many and tarnishes the Organization’s image; it is a great disservice to our brave and honorable peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace.

The Philippines is strongly committed to ending sexual violence whenever and wherever it occurs and we will hold our troops accountable to the highest standards of conduct.

We assure the United Nations that our personnel will be following very strict standards of conduct and behavior in the performance of their peacekeeping duties. We have also adopted a more stringent criteria in the selection of peacekeeping candidates.[1]

Mr. President,

The Philippines stands with the UN Member States in protecting the good name of UN peacekeeping and upholding the trust of our people. Thank you.  END 


[1] Philippine Statement conveyed by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana during the 2019 Ministerial Meeting on UN Peacekeeping Operations (Session on “Performance”); 29 March 2019, UNHQ, New York City