It peacekeeping personnel. The largest responsibility rested with Member

It
is undeniable that the world has significantly availed from peacekeeping
operations, whether it was  from relief
missions in times of natural cataclysms, to providing support to innocent
civilians in war- ravaged states. However, we certainly can’t deny that these operations
have unfortunately, given rise to a steady pool of criminal acts, committed by
the very beacons of hope. Vanu Gopala menon, the Representative of Singapore in
2004 stated that “People in war-torn lands see blue helmets and expect their
lives to improve”. When any form of abuse, be it sexual, physical or emotional
is allowed, it is a total betrayal of trust. It pains the delegates of Singapore
to see a small minority sully the reputation of the dedicated majority.

Since 1989, Singapore has
actively contributed to international peacekeeping operations. Almost 450
officers have taken part in 11 peacekeeping operations in countries such as
Cambodia, Iraq, Jordan, Namibia, Nepal, South Africa and Timor-Leste. We have always
been involved in various missions, under UN auspices, maintaining law and
order, training of local police to enhance their operational readiness and
building community confidence by engaging the people. Singapore believes that Strict
laws and robust institutions can reduce wrongdoing, but they cannot prevent it
altogether.  Hence, Singapore makes it a
point to respond swiftly and decisively to corrupt behaviour. Singapore does not
take into consideration the title of the wrongdoer. In the words of Thomas
Fuller: “Be you ever so high, the law is above you”. In fact, where a wrongdoer
is in the public service, enforcement is likely to be even harsher. There is no
use to having beautiful laws, embodying the noblest ideals, only to do
something else in practice. Elegant constitutions can be easily had, and are
not hard to find. What matters is how the laws apply in practice.

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We believe that it is
necessary to recruit special representatives and commanders in order to inform
the units and entities under their commands that any misconduct and violation
of the law was intolerable.  Just as a peacekeeper would be held
accountable for his or her actions, commanders and senior staff would also be
held accountable for the misconduct of any personnel under their command. Singapore
urges the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to analyze that data and
evaluate the effectiveness of the measures after they are introduced. Finally, high
standards of conduct and discipline must be applied to all categories of
peacekeeping personnel.  The largest responsibility rested with Member
States to train, edify, prepare and hold accountable members of national
contingents, including at the very senior level.  Managers and commanders are
responsible in creating and maintaining an environment that prevents sexual
exploitation and abuse and they must be clearly directed to facilitate
investigations and be held accountable for failures in that regard.  We
also encourage troop contributors to share their best practices in their use of
United Nations welfare payments aimed at providing for the recreation of
troops. 

The delegates of Singapore
recognize that these crimes were committed by a small number of people, their
abuse tainted the loyal and professional service of valued United Nations
peacekeepers who put their lives at risk on a daily basis for others. We
would also like to remind any victims that the truth won’t go away. It will
keep surfacing until it is recognized. Truth will outlast any campaigns mounted
against it, no matter how mighty, clever, or long. It is invincible. It’s only
a matter of which generation is willing to face it and, in so doing, protect
future generations from ritual abuse.

 

 

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