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US Senate Committee Threatens to Reduce UN Funding Over Abuse Cases

The chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee threatened Wednesday to reduce funding to the United Nations over peacekeeper misconduct.

UN peace keepers have been accused of sexually harassing women and girls in Central African Republic and other parts of Africa.

"What is wrong with the secretary-general of the U.N.?" Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, asked a hearing on ending sexual abuse in U.N. peacekeeping.

"I think the U.N. is in great jeopardy of building enough critical mass around here where severe penalties should be taken against them with withholding of funds from them because of their ineptness."

Corker and other senators are angry over the string of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations against both U.N. and non-U.N. military and police personnel, mostly in Africa.

The United States contributes about a quarter of the $8 billion annual U.N. peacekeeping budget. Several senators expressed their disapproval of continuing to send taxpayer dollars at that level if sexual abuse cases do not dramatically decrease.

Protectors as perpetrators.

In a report last month, the U.N. acknowledged that allegations of sexual abuse rose in 2015, despite the institution’s "zero tolerance" policy. Peacekeepers were implicated in 69 cases, while there were 30 allegations against civilian staff members. Many of their victims were children.

More than half the peacekeeper-related allegations were made against just two U.N. missions in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"If I knew right now that a U.N. peacekeeping mission was going to go into North Chattanooga today, which is where my wife is," Corker said referring to his Tennessee neighborhood, "I would be on the first plane out of here to go home and protect her from the U.N. peacekeepers especially if they came from certain countries."

By Robert Muriisa.

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