EMILY C. SCHEPPEGRELL, THE ECONOMIST (opinion)
The Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL) opened debate this evening regarding Topic A: Reforming United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Operations today. However, the debate focused on only one aspect of the topic – sexual abuse committed by UN Peacekeepers and methods to resolve this violence. The same incidents were mentioned again and again in almost every speech as speakers pulled on the heartstrings of anyone listening with anecdotes or hypothetical scenarios. While the issue of sexual abuse by peacekeepers is very real and should not be belittled, it should also not take over discussion. Several other important issues exist and are essential to reforming operations. To name a few, the capacity, technology, mandate flexibility, impartiality, judgement of necessity, remain critical to fundamentally alter the effectiveness of UN Peacekeepers.
Yes, Peacekeepers need to be held to a higher standard and protect the citizens they are deployed to protect, not place them into further harm. However, SPECPOL is operating on a limited time frame this weekend, and in order to thoroughly address this topic as well as the next, it is time to move on to other matters.