UN council support tough action for peacekeeping failures

UN peacekeeping missions are facing a damaging wave of allegations of sex abuse and of failing to come to the aid of civilians caught up in violence, notably in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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UN council support tough action for peacekeeping failures

  • The UN, which deploys 96,000 peacekeepers in 14 far-flung missions from the Mideast to Africa to Haiti, has come under sharp criticism in recent years
  • Some countries that contribute troops to UN missions privately expressed unhappiness at the initial US draft resolution

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday to support tougher UN action against peacekeepers who fail to protect civilians, including by sending them home and refusing to pay their governments.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said after the adoption of the US-sponsored resolution that the council had responded to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ challenge “to step up and strengthen peacekeeping.”
“The actions we take today will make the United Nations a better, more effective instrument of peace and security,” she said. “This resolution mandates a timely and transparent reporting process for performance failures. It creates real accountability measures for when these failures occur.”
The United Nations, which deploys 96,000 peacekeepers in 14 far-flung missions from the Mideast to Africa to Haiti, has come under sharp criticism in recent years for sexual abuse by its troops and failures to protect civilians.
The United States is the largest contributor to peacekeeping, but deploys only 50 officers to UN missions.
Haley has been trying to cut the peacekeeping budget, which this year is $7.3 billion, and she announced in March that the Trump administration was reducing its 28.5 percent assessment to 25 percent.
Some countries that contribute troops to UN missions privately expressed unhappiness at the initial US draft resolution. Russia and China said earlier this month that the views of troop contributors needed to be taken into account, and Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Friday he almost voted against the measure.
Haley said the US rejected “business as usual” for the resolution and did engage major troop contributing countries.
The resolution honors “the heroic work of tens of thousands of United Nations uniformed and civilian peacekeeping personnel” and underscores that the UN “should not let the performance failures of a few tarnish the achievements of the whole.”
But it also expresses “deep concern about the serious and continuous allegations and underreporting of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers.” It further takes aim at “continued instances of underperformance,” including inaction by UN soldiers against imminent threats to civilians they are mandated to protect.
The council reaffirmed support for the development of a comprehensive policy with clear standards on peacekeeping performance and “well-defined benchmarks to ensure accountability for underperformance and incentives and recognition for outstanding performance.”
It said “a range of responses proportionate to the identified performance failures” are needed. These should include “transparent public reporting,” repatriating or replacing military units, and withholding financial payments to governments of uniformed personnel, the council said. For civilian members of UN missions, the measures for performance failures should include revoking or changing duties, dismissing them or not renewing contracts, it said.


Strasbourg gunman Cherif Chekatt shot dead by police

Updated 14 December 2018
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Strasbourg gunman Cherif Chekatt shot dead by police

  • Chekatt was killed after firing on police officers, who returned fire
  • Reporters near the scene heard three to four gunshots after a huge police operation

LONDON: A gunman on the run since he killed three people at Strasbourg’s popular Christmas market has been shot dead by police.

More than 700 French security forces had been hunting for 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt since the bloodshed on Tuesday night.

Cherif Chekatt was killed in the Neudorf/Meinau area of the city after a police operation was launched around 2100 hrs (2000 GMT) on Thursday about 2 kilometers from where he launched his attack on Tuesday.

Chekatt was killed after firing on police officers, who returned fire, a source said.

Reporters near the scene heard three to four gunshots after a huge police operation with armed forces from the BRI and RAID units. A police helicopter had been circling overhead.

The death toll from Tuesday’s attack rose to three as police on Thursday combed the city in the east of France for a second day and manned checkpoints on the German border.

Police issued a wanted poster in multiple languages for Chekatt, who was the main suspect in the attack and who had been on a watchlist as a potential security threat.

Authorities say the 29-year-old was known to have developed radical religious views while in jail.

Earlier in the day armed and masked police swooped on Strasbourg neighborhoods with elite RAID officers fanning out across three locations in late afternoon, including the area where Chekatt was last seen.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Chekatt’s parents and two brothers were being held in custody.

Two of his sisters in Paris were also questioned on Thursday and one of their homes was searched, a judicial source said.