According to CNN, Toure Hamadoun, spokesperson for the UN mission in Cote d'Ivoire (ONUCI), said that the allegations surfaced as a result of a campaign against sexual exploitation, during which local civilians were asked to inform UN authorities about any abuses. When accusations against the Moroccan peacekeepers arose, the UN decided to investigate further, dispatching a team to carry out interviews and gather information.
This is not the first time that United Nations peacekeepers have been accused of sexual misconduct and abuse. The International Herald Tribune reports that more than 300 members of UN peacekeeping missions around the world have been investigated for sexual exploitation and abuse over the past three years in nations including the Congo, Cambodia, and Haiti. Upon investigations into sexual assault, 18 civilian employees have been dismissed, and 17 international police and 144 military personnel have been sent back to their home countries.
In an effort to eliminate sexual misconduct in its global operations, the UN held a three-day conference last month in the Dominican Republic. The United Nations has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and has sought to ensure peacekeepers receive educational training to avert the problem. Toure told AP Television News last Saturday that "We are here to protect the population and not to abuse... When we have the outcome of this investigation, appropriate actions will be taken."
Media Resources: Amnesty International; The Hindu/AP 6/23/07; Voice of America 7/21/07; Reuters 7/22/07; AP 7/22/07
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .