Dhaka – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated firm commitment to the UN initiative to eradicate sexual violence and abuse by the peacekeepers in missions.
“…our approach is ‘zero tolerance’ to the allegations of sexual violence by the peacekeepers,” Hasina said in a statement at a high-level meeting on “Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse” at Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN Headquarters Monday.
The Prime Minister is now in New York to attend the 72nd UN General Assembly. She has been taking part in different side events.
She said Bangladesh, as a major contributor to the UN peace mission, attached the highest priority to the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse.
UN secretary general has taken the move to combat scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse within the UN system and beyond.
Hasina said allegations of sexual abuse against the peacekeepers are handled with extreme urgency.
“The members under such allegations are immediately repatriated at his own expenses and his/ her (UN) allowances are suspended until the investigation is complete,” she said.
“Protection against sexual exploitation and abuse has been made an integral part of our pre-deployment training,” she added.
The premier said all contingent commanders have been empowered with legal and administrative authority to address any allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse.
“They can investigate and prosecute the allegations within the mission area,” she said.
Hasina said the senior most peacekeeper in the mission area has the authority to take disciplinary actions against the Bangladeshi peacekeepers if they are charged with any criminal offence, according to state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency.
President of Republic of Finland Sauli Niinisto, President of Uruguay Tabare Vazquez, Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn also spoke on “Identified gaps, best practices and sustaining efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse.”