Itis undeniable that the world has significantly benefited from peacekeepingoperations, be it from relief missions in times of natural calamities, toproviding 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 bastions 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 form of abuse,being sexual, physical or emotional is allowed, it is a total 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 alwaysbeen involved in various missions, underUN auspices, maintaining law and order, training of local police to enhancetheir operational readiness and building community confidence by engaging thepeople. Singapore believes that Strict laws and robust institutions can reducewrongdoing, but they cannot prevent it altogether.
Hence, Singapore makes it a point to respondswiftly and decisively to corrupt behaviour. Singapore does 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, enforcement is likely to be even harsher. There is no use to havingbeautiful laws, embodying the noblest ideals, only to do something else inpractice. Elegant constitutions can be easily had, and are not hard to find.What matters is how the laws apply in practice.
We believe that it isnecessary to evaluate the efficacy of the Organization’s measures and questionwhether it had provided itself with the proper tools to root out the problem. Therefore, special representatives and commanders needed to inform theunits and entities under their commands that such behaviour was intolerable. Just as a peacekeeper would be held accountable for his or her actions,commanders and senior staff would also be held accountable for the misconductof any personnel under their command. Singapore also urges the Department ofPeacekeeping Operations to analyse that data and evaluate the effectiveness ofthe measures after they are introduced. Finally, high standards of conduct anddiscipline must be applied to all categories of peacekeeping personnel. Aparticular responsibility rested with Member States to train, prepare and holdaccountable members of national contingents, including at the very seniorlevel. Managers and commanders had the responsibility to create andmaintain an environment that prevented sexual exploitation and abuse and theymust be clearly directed to facilitate investigations and be held accountablefor failures in that regard. He also encouraged troop contributors toshare best practices in their use of United Nations welfare payments aimed atproviding for the recreation of troops.
Thedelegate of Singapore recognizes that these crimes were committed by a smallnumber of people, their abuse tainted the loyal and professional service ofvalued United Nations peacekeepers who put their lives at risk on a daily basisfor others. We would also like to remind any victims that the truthwon’t go away. It will keep surfacing until it is recognized. Truth willoutlast any campaigns mounted against it, no matter how mighty, clever, orlong. It is invincible. It’s only a matter of which generation is willing toface it and, in so doing, protect future generations from ritual abuse.