Whether in Palestine, Ukraine or Somalia, wars result in millions of children threatened by the brutality of armed conflict.
Back in November 2007, about 108 military personnel from an Asian country, serving with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, were deported home after being accused of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of minors.
When the Cold War ended in 1991, there was hope the U.N. Security Council would be able to take decisive action to create a more peaceful world. Early blue helmet successes in Cambodia, Namibia, Mozambique, and El Salvador seemed to vindicate that assessment.
The widespread field operations of the United Nations – primarily in conflict zones in Africa, Asia and the Middle East – continue to be some of the world’s deadliest.
When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named an international panel to review peacekeeping operations last October, the announcement was greeted with bitter criticism because it lacked even a semblance of gender balance: only three out of 14 members were women.
Finding ways to better integrate the two arms of U.N. Peace Operations - Special Political Missions and Peacekeeping Operations - will be one of the priorities for a new review panel headed by Nobel Peace Laureate and former president of Timor-Leste José Ramos-Horta.
Ongoing military conflicts in the strife-torn Middle East - specifically in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Palestine - have resulted in widespread civilian casualties, impacting heavily on the most vulnerable in besieged communities: women and children.
When sexual violence - whether against men, women or children - takes place in United Nations peacekeeping missions worldwide, the world body has been quick to single out the perpetrators and expel them back to their home countries.