The United Nations has a three-pronged strategy to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse: prevention of misconduct, enforcement of UN standards of conduct and remedial action.
Training, awareness-raising activities and preventative measures at mission level are at the center of the actions taken by peacekeeping operations and special political missions to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse.
Conduct and discipline issues are an essential component of pre-deployment and in-mission induction training, which is mandatory for all civilian, military and police peacekeeping personnel.
Pre-deployment training for all international civilian staff is conducted by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ Integrated Training Service (ITS) at the UN Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy.
Troop Contributing Countries and Police Contributing Countries are responsible for providing mandatory pre-deployment training for military and police personnel. This training is usually delivered by peacekeeping training institutions operating on a national or regional/sub-regional basis.
The Conduct and Discipline Unit (CDU) at Headquarters is helping troop and police contributing countries to improve their pre-deployment training on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse by developing and providing training modules and advice. For example, CDU, in coordination with ITS, is training the trainers on the Core Pre-deployment Training Module on conduct and discipline, and strengthening the instructors’ understanding of the standards and best practices in conduct and discipline training methodologies and materials.
Since 2005, training on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse has been mandatory for all personnel on arrival in a UN peacekeeping mission. CDU identifies training needs in field missions and supports the development of a community of practice on conduct and discipline training.
In cooperation with Integrated Training Mission Cells (IMTC), Conduct and Discipline Teams (CDT) in field missions provide direct induction, refresher and on-going training in missions and work with Headquarters to incorporate mission-specific information in training modules. The core conduct and discipline training in missions covers a range of topics including the Conduct and Discipline Team mandate and functions; Code of Conduct and core values; definitions and types of misconduct; examples of sexual exploitation and abuse and consequences; individual and management responsibilities; obligations to report misconduct; disciplinary and administrative procedures; and the rights and responsibilities of the peacekeeping personnel. CDTs provide ongoing training including ‘train the trainer’ courses.
Mission-based awareness-raising initiatives form a significant part of the strategies of the Conduct and Discipline Teams to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse. The teams seek to raise awareness by reaching out to host populations, including local government officials, relevant civil society organizations, international organizations and non-government organizations.
The wide range of awareness-raising measures undertaken in field missions include poster campaigns, newsletters, brochures, websites and radio broadcasts. Peacekeeping missions in Sudan (UNMIS), Liberia (UNMIL), Haiti (MINUSTAH), Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) conducted campaigns during 2008-2009 to combat prostitution/transactional sex involving UN personnel.
Prevention measures at field level include restriction of movement, curfews, requiring soldiers to wear uniforms outside barracks, designating off-limits areas, non-fraternization policies, increased patrols around high risks areas and decentralization of CDT personnel into locations with a potentially high risk of misconduct.