4 September 2006

Fourth Committee Endorses Recommendations on Elimination of Sexual Abuse in Peacekeeping Operations

NEW YORK, 1  September (UN Headquarters) -- Convinced of the need for the United Nations to take strong and effective steps to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping missions, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), this afternoon, endorsed the proposals and recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations on the matter that it had made during its 2006 resumed session.

Approving, without a vote, as orally amended, a draft resolution on the comprehensive review of a strategy to eliminate future sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Committee recommended that the Assembly urge Member States, the Secretariat and relevant organs of the Organization to take all necessary steps to implement the proposals and conclusions of the Special Committee.  Also, by the terms of the text, the Assembly would support the request of the Special Committee that the Secretary-General provide a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations at its next regular session on 26 February through 16 March 2007.

The text was introduced by the Committee's Rapporteur, Ihad Awab (Egypt), who recalled that, at the conclusion of its resumed session on 27 July, the Special Committee had approved its report (document A/60/19/Add.1), having reviewed the findings of the Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on the matter.  The Group had been established in June to consider the Secretary-General's strategy for victim assistance and the revised draft model memorandum of understanding between the United Nations and Member States contributing resources to peacekeeping operations.

Summarizing the proposals and recommendations of the Special Committee, the Rapporteur said that, it had noted that the documents needed by the Experts Group had not been officially issued at the time of its meeting in June.  The two documents concerned were the draft United Nations policy statement and draft United Nations comprehensive strategy for assisting and supporting victims of sexual exploitation and abuse; and the revised model Memorandum of Understanding between the Organization and Member States contributing resources to peacekeeping operations.  The Special Committee had, therefore, requested that those documents be issued as a General Assembly document in all official languages by September, to be discussed at the next meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts in December.

He also informed the Committee that the draft strategy on victim assistance had been officially issued with the date of 5 June 2006 (document A/60/977), while the revised Memorandum of Understanding, after taking into consideration views expressed by Member States in 2005 and 2006, was due to be submitted for translation later this month.  The Special Committee intended to consider the findings of the Experts Group at the conclusion of the Group's work on 15 or 18 December.  The Special Committee had also stressed the importance of full conference services for its deliberations, both in the Ad Hoc Working Group and in its plenary meetings.

Proper support for the meetings was also stressed by the representative of Canada, who spoke prior to action on the draft.  He also stressed the essential nature of the documents that were to be issued prior to the Expert Group's meeting.

The Committee's Secretary, Zhang Saijin, also made an oral statement on the programme budget implications of the draft resolution approved today.

In other business this afternoon, the Fourth Committee elected, by acclamation, Urban Andersson of Sweden as its Vice-President from the Group of Western European and Other States.

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