is undeniable that the world has significantly availed from peacekeeping
operations, whether it was from relief missions in times of natural cataclysms,
to providing support to innocent civilians in war- ravaged states. However, we
certainly can’t deny that these operations have unfortunately, given rise to a
steady pool of criminal acts, committed by the very beacons of hope. Vanu Gopala
menon, the Representative of Singapore in 2004 stated that “People in war-torn
lands 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 of
trust. It pains the delegates of Singapore to see a small minority sully the
reputation of the dedicated majority.
Since 1989, Singapore has
actively contributed to international peacekeeping operations. Almost 450
officers have taken part in 11 peacekeeping operations in countries such as
Cambodia, Iraq, Jordan, Namibia, Nepal, South Africa and Timor-Leste. We have thoroughly
been involved in diverse missions, under UN auspices, fighting to maintain law
and order, coaching local police to magnify their operational readiness and augmenting
community confidence by engaging with the people. Singapore makes it a point to
respond swiftly and decisively to corruptive conduct. We do not take into
consideration the title of the wrongdoer. In the words of Thomas Fuller: “Be
you ever so high, the law is above you”. In fact, where a wrongdoer is in the
public service, imposition is likely to be even harsher. It is useless to have perfect
laws and embodying the noblest ideals, only to do something else in practice.
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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 is
necessary to recruit commanders and special representatives in order to notify any
units or entities under their commands that misconduct or violation of the law is
intolerable. Both the peacekeeper and their commanders will be held liable
for the misconduct of any personnel under their command. Singapore urges the
Department of Peacekeeping Operations to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness
of these measures after they are introduced. Finally, high-ranking standards of
conduct and discipline must be imposed to all categories of peacekeeping
personnel. The largest responsibility rests with Member States to train, edify,
prepare and hold responsible members of national contingents, inclusive of
those at the very senior level. Managers and commanders are responsible
in creating and maintaining an environment that prevents sexual exploitation
The delegates of Singapore
recognize that these crimes were committed by a trivial number of people, however
their abuse tainted the faithful and professional service of valued UN peacekeepers
who put their lives at risk on a daily basis for others. We would also
like to remind any victims that the truth will never go away. It will keep
emerging until it is recognized. Truth will outlast any campaigns mounted
against it. It’s only a matter of who is willing to face it and, in doing so, protecting
future generations from ritual abuse.