Investigators sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo reported more than 150 cases of pedophilia, rape and soliciting prostitutes by United Nations officials and peacekeepers. The Washington Post reports that a confidential UN report describes the sexual exploitation as “significant, widespread, and ongoing.” According to the LA Times, some of the cases involved the use of pictures and videos.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan responded to the findings, stating, “I am afraid there is clear evidence that acts of gross misconduct have taken place. This is a shameful thing for the United Nations to have to say, and I am absolutely outraged by it,” reports the LA Times. Earlier this year, the UN Special Representative to Congo announced that the UN would start an investigation of reports that Tunisian and Uruguayan peacekeepers would give young girls aged 12 to 15 food for sex at a refugee town in Congo.
Jean-Marie Guehenno, the UN’s top peacekeeping official, has said that the UN would consider lifting the immunity of offending UN peacekeepers so that they may face prosecution, according to the Washington Post. However, other UN officials have stated that the UN has no such authority over foreign troops.
In previous years, UN peacekeepers have been linked to sex abuse in East Timor, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, reports the Associated Press.
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .