India has made the starting contribution to the trust fund set up by the UN for victims of sex abuse by peacekeepers, a spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced on Friday, July 22.
The spokesperson, Farhan Haq, told reporters that India’s contribution of $100,000 was the first to the fund established in March to help the victims of sex abuse by UN peacekeepers.
“India has illustrated its strong commitment to our victim-centred approach in addressing sexual exploitation and abuse by UN civilian and uniformed personnel,” Atul Khare, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said in a statement. His department administers the fund.
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The fund was established in March 2016, amid an international outcry against sex abuse and exploitation carried out by the UN peacekeepers. The UN has reiterated and strengthened its zero-tolerance policy for abuse.
Indian peacekeepers have received a clean chit from the UN for the early part of this year in 2016 and all of 2015, when the UN began publicly releasing reports of abuse identifying the nationalities of the violators.
Although India is historically the largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, its personnel have a relatively clean record and India has taken strong steps to execute its zero-tolerance policy.
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The last time Indians were found involved in abuse was between 2010 and 2013 when the Office of Internal Oversight Services said there were three substantiated cases of sexual exploitation or abuse by Indian peacekeepers.
Earlier to that India conducted DNA tests of peacekeepers for paternity tests when allegations of abuse arose from a deployment in Congo during 2007-08.
One soldier was found to have fathered a child there and action was taken against him and three of his superiors. (IANS)