CAIRO: Egypt stated Monday that it had abstained in a vote for a UN draft resolution against sexual abuses and exploitations by UN peacekeepers as it ‘broadens’ the UN Secretary General’s power to repatriate any contributing country’ troops without “proper verification of any allegations.”
“The abstention did NOT in any way reflect acceptance or a soft stance on the issue of sexual abuse; nothing could be further from the truth. Egypt’s reservations regarding the resolution were based on principle, as the resolution had various shortcomings,” according to a statement that was removed a few hours after being published on Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Facebook page.
Egypt stated that it is one of the troop-contributing countries with the lowest number of allegations of sexual abuse by its troops, adding “it is imperative to stress that Egypt is not in any way, shape or form lenient towards sexual abuse, nor attempting to ‘undermine’ efforts to combat this crime as alleged by one permanent member of the Security Council.”
Cairo also said that the resolution is an “encroachment on the UNSC mandate” as it is comes under the mandate of the Council, not the Secretary-General.
The resolution does not ensure “solid evidence” on sexual attacks by UN peacekeepers, Egypt said, noting that the “U.S.-drafted” resolution was adopted 84 hours after being tabled without taking with non-member countries whose troops contribute in the UN peacekeeping operations. The resolution is “reflecting the lack of any serious intention to consider amendments,” Egypt continued.
Egypt stated that it has held discussions with contributing countries that are not members in the UNSC on the resolution, adding that those countries “strongly supported” Egypt’s stance and sent their reservations on the draft.
“Egypt represents not only itself but a host of Arab and African countries in the Security Council, many of whom are troop-contributors, and Egypt respects its responsibilities towards these countries and their right to have their concerns taken into account in this dialogue,” the statement continued.
On March 11, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution, per which “the Secretary-General to replace all military or police units from any contributing country that had failed to hold perpetrators accountable,” according to a UN statement. Egypt abstained to vote, saying it proposed an amendment to the text; however, it has been rejected.
“Egypt presented an amendment to ensure that the resolution had established safeguards guaranteeing the proper verification of any allegations, particularly since this is the first resolution stipulating collective punishment measures in response to sexual abuse,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry’s statement said.
Egypt’s proposal was rejected by the Council after nine countries voted against to five in favor and one abstained; the president of the council stated after he vote “The proposed amendment would have made the replacement of a contingent subject to three conditions: the investigation of allegations; punishment of the perpetrators; and informing the Secretary-General of the actions taken against the offenders.”
Per the resolution, the Secretary-General has the right to repatriate military unit or police unit of a contingent that failed to take “appropriate steps” to investigate AND/OR hold the perpetrators accountable AND/OR inform the Secretary General about the investigation or about the steps taken
The resolution has been drafted after cases of “rape” by peacekeepers against girls were reported in Central Africa. Human Right Watch reported Feb. 4 that at least eight girls have been “sexually abused and exploited” by UN Peacekeepers in period of time between October and December 2015.