Canada has been making moves towards increasing its involvement in UN peacekeeping but this editorial board wants to remind the government that peacekeeping comes with challenges. The UN is currently facing a serious accountability problem, particularly with the cholera epidemic it began in Haiti, and the sexual abuse perpetrated by peacekeepers all over the world. If Canada is to increase its troop commitment, it must also take steps to ensure that these human rights violations are addressed and don’t continue to happen under its watch.
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Editorial: Peacekeeping is no picnic
Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board, Ottawa Citizen
August 5, 2016
Soon after his election victory in 2015, Justin Trudeau declared, “We’re back.” It was a message to both reassure and vindicate those who “worried that Canada (had) lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world.” But back to what? Among other things, enthusiasm for the United Nations and its peacekeeping operations.
To some internationalist policy wonks and cabinet ministers, this is an unalloyed good. Victims of abuse or indifference in many countries, however, might need a little more reassurance.
Two Quebec provincial police officers recently retired before they could be subjected to internal disciplinary hearings about alleged sexual misconduct during a peacekeeping mission in Haiti. These are not the only cases involving accusations against Canadians, and they are part of a larger context of impunity that taints UN peacekeeping operations in several countries, where peacekeepers have been accused of either perpetrating abuse themselves, or ignoring horrific crimes under their noses.
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