Petition 81018

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End Exploitation by United Nations Personnel (81018-GM-R9999)

Add a new resolution as follows:
  
    United Nations personnel, including staff-persons, aid workers and peacekeeping forces, are responsible for distributing much-needed humanitarian aid the world over.  This humanitarian aid such as food, clothing, medical supplies, shelter, and money has been bartered for sex in what has become known as the “Sex for Food” scandal.  This exploitation and abuse of women, children, and youth is a clear violation of the trust put in the United Nations to be a force of peace and goodwill.
It has been reported that these abusive acts have occurred in Bosnia and Kosovo, Cambodia, East Timor, the Congo, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sudan and other countries.  Reuters reported another charge of sexual abuse as recently as January 2007.  
This problem has been the subject of several U.S. government investigations and studies, including those conducted by the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committee, and the Governmental Accountability Office.  Bi-partisan studies acknowledging the abuse and calling for necessary reform measures include:  
  

  • Hope for Africa’s Forgotten: A Report on the Fact-Finding Mission to Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Kenya was issued in 2005 by Senator Sam Brownback and Senator Richard Durbin.  
  • The United States Institute for Peace issued a report titled, American Interest and UN Reform prepared by Newt Gingrich and George Mitchell.  (This was a comprehensive task force on UN reform that not only reported the problem, but also the structural reasons within the UN that keep the problem from being adequately addressed.)
      
  • The U.N. Independent Inquiry Committee
            Although the UN has passed resolutions calling for a zero tolerance policy, the fact remains that the UN has taken no substantive steps other than rhetoric to enforce their policy or hold offenders accountable.  The United Methodist Church partners with the United Nations in many programs, treaties, and mission projects involving women, children, and youth, and thus has a great moral and practical interest in assuring the integrity of United Nations relief programs.
        Therefore, The United Methodist Church calls for the end of all abusive acts, sexual and otherwise, against women, children, and youth, in connection with United Nations humanitarian aid programs.  We insist that the United Nations enforce a zero tolerance policy against such abuse.
    The United Methodist Church strongly calls upon the United Nations to enforce all existing prohibitions by increasing monitoring programs and by prosecuting all U.N. officials and NGO workers who are found guilty of exploiting and sexually abusing women, children, and youth.  We call upon the United Nations to overhaul all of the U.N. bureaucracy that allows this abuse and exploitation to continue and to go unpunished.