OTTAWA — An international group that includes Canada’s former UN ambassador Stephen Lewis and retired general and senator Romeo Dallaire is opening a campaign to end sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers and international employees.
The group, which calls itself Code Blue, wants UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to lift the diplomatic immunity that protects UN employees from being held to account when abuse complaints arise.
Lewis says the secretary general’s inaction makes a mockery of his annual pledge of zero tolerance towards abuse.
Paula Donovan, a campaign organizer, says Canada’s support is needed because the country invented peacekeeping and has a vested interest in ensuring its integrity.
The campaign has added relevance because of a scandal that erupted last month in Central African Republic, with sex abuse allegations against French soldiers involving boys, some as young as nine.
Nineteen years after she first documented a rise in child prostitution in six countries after peacekeepers arrived, Mozambique humanitarian advocate Graca Machel says the recent scandal shows matters are only getting worse.