The Mid-Atlantic Blog

February 19, 2006

Sexual Abuse & The United Nations

You can tell a lot about people by what they choose to do.

John Bolton, the baddest man in the whole damn town if you remember the accusations levied against him during his hearings for the job of US Ambassador to the UN, has just taken over the rotating presidency of the Security Council.

What's he gone and done? He's scheduled hearings into two main issues: sexual abuse committed by UN peacekeepers during their peacekeeping mission, and procurement fraud.

Now, last time I heard, I thought that sexual abuse was bad, as was fraud? But turns out that there is something worse! Yup, the worse sin than committing sexual abuse or stealing money that's supposed to benefit suffering people is...
encroachment by the council on issues which clearly fall within the functions and powers of the assembly

This is from a letter sent by the Non-Aligned Movement to the General Assembly President. Now, I'm sorry, but this exemplifies rather the whole problem with the UN at the moment. If peacekeepers are committing sex crimes on the UN's money, or people are stealing from the procurement budget then everyone should care. I note that there is no suggestion of immediate hearings in the Assembly on these issues, by the way...

I love this final quote from Bolton reacting in part to this additional story, about a couple of letters from Congressmen on other UN issues...
"The United States believes in taking action and being effective, and we don't apologize to anybody for that," Bolton told reporters. "The Security Council is acting, and other bodies can act as well."

We have all got a growing problem at the UN. But this stuff is exactly what Bolton's supporters wanted him to do: start to clean the stables. It'll take some time.
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