Itis undeniable that the world has significantly availed from peacekeepingoperations, whether it was from relief missions in times of natural cataclysms,to providing support to innocent civilians in war- ravaged states. However, wecertainly can’t deny that these operations have unfortunately, given rise to asteady pool of criminal acts, committed by the very beacons of hope. Vanu Gopalamenon, the Representative of Singapore in 2004 stated that “People in war-tornlands see blue helmets and expect their lives to improve”.
When any type of abuse,be it sexual, physical or emotional is allowed, it is a complete betrayal oftrust. It pains the delegates of Singapore to see a small minority sully thereputation of the dedicated majority. Since 1989, Singapore hasactively contributed to international peacekeeping operations. Almost 450officers have taken part in 11 peacekeeping operations in countries such asCambodia, Iraq, Jordan, Namibia, Nepal, South Africa and Timor-Leste.
We have thoroughlybeen involved in diverse missions, under UN auspices, fighting to maintain lawand order, coaching local police to magnify their operational readiness and augmentingcommunity confidence by engaging with the people. Singapore makes it a point torespond swiftly and decisively to corruptive conduct. We do not take intoconsideration the title of the wrongdoer. In the words of Thomas Fuller: “Beyou ever so high, the law is above you”. In fact, where a wrongdoer is in thepublic service, imposition is likely to be even harsher. It is useless to have perfectlaws and embodying the noblest ideals, only to do something else in practice.Elegant constitutions can be easily obtained, and are not laborious to locate.What matters is how the laws apply in practice.
We believe that it isnecessary to recruit commanders and special representatives in order to notify anyunits or entities under their commands that misconduct or violation of the law isintolerable. Both the peacekeeper and their commanders will be held liablefor the misconduct of any personnel under their command. Singapore urges theDepartment of Peacekeeping Operations to analyze and evaluate the effectivenessof these measures after they are introduced. Finally, high-ranking standards ofconduct and discipline must be imposed to all categories of peacekeepingpersonnel. The largest responsibility rests with Member States to train, edify,prepare and hold responsible members of national contingents, inclusive ofthose at the very senior level. Managers and commanders are responsiblein creating and maintaining an environment that prevents sexual exploitationand abuse. The delegates of Singaporerecognize that these crimes were committed by a trivial number of people, howevertheir abuse tainted the faithful and professional service of valued UN peacekeeperswho put their lives at risk on a daily basis for others.
We would alsolike to remind any victims that the truth will never go away. It will keepemerging until it is recognized. Truth will outlast any campaigns mountedagainst it.
It’s only a matter of who is willing to face it and, in doing so, protectingfuture generations from ritual abuse.