Peacekeeping: Seeking Celibate Soldiers

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November 13, 2007: The UN is trying to crack down on misbehavior of peacekeepers. For example, it has prohibited peacekeepers from having sex with prostitutes. In order to make that point, the UN recently ordered 11 percent of a 950 man Sri Lankan infantry battalion to return home, and be charged with a crime. But there is no Sri Lankan law against soldiers patronizing prostitutes. In fact, most Sri Lankans are indignant that their troops are being treated like this. Some of the troops have been accused of using underage prostitutes, but this is seen by Sri Lankans as unproven and an attempt to discredit the Sri Lankan army.

As a result of all this, the UN will have trouble getting more peacekeepers from Sri Lanka, and other nations as well, in the future. But at the same time, the UN is under pressure from many Western NGOs (especially European ones) that provide the bulk of the aid workers in areas where the peacekeepers are providing security, to help halt prostitution. This also creates a hostile atmosphere between the peacekeepers and some of the NGOs.

 


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