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Title: ENDING VIOLENCE OR ENGENDERING VIOLENCE? An Analysis of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Perpetrated by United Nations’ Peacekeepers in Liberia from 2003-2017
Authors: Chotrani, Dina
Advisors: Martin, Carol
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program
Class Year: 2018
Abstract: Despite the UN’s zero tolerance policy, sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers remains a major problem. This fact is troublesome, considering that the purposes of peacekeeping operations include creating peace and security, protecting local communities, and promoting human rights. Given this responsibility to do right by civilians, it is clear that sexual exploitation directly conflicts with the intention and function of peacekeeping operations. In fact, because of the abuse, peacekeeping missions may be doing more harm than good to the post-conflict communities they serve. This thesis presents a quantitative ex-post facto analysis of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers in post-conflict Liberia from 2003-2017. The United Nations Mission in Liberia is an interesting peacekeeping operation to study because of the several changes to the structure of its peacekeeping mission, namely the deployment of nine all-female peacekeeping units from India to Liberia in 2007 and the drawdown and eventual redeployment of peacekeeping troops as the security situation has changed over the years. By looking at a single mission, the thesis is able to develop a better understanding of the factors that ameliorate and exacerbate sexual exploitation and abuse. The dependent variables in the analysis include reported counts of sexual exploitation and abuse measured by the number of allegations, the number of identified peacekeeper perpetrators, and the number of identified victims. The independent variables used represent characteristics of the peacekeeping force in Liberia that have changed over time since its initial deployment, and are elements that the United Nations is capable of controlling or changing. The characteristics include the size, gender composition, mandates, origins, and gender equality norms of the mission. Thus, the research question becomes: How should the United Nations structure its peacekeeping mission in Liberia to reduce the overall level of sexual exploitation and abuse? This regression results support the general hypothesis of this thesis: missionyears that integrate gender equality into their structure by increasing the proportion of female peacekeepers and the number of peacekeepers that come from countries that respect women’s rights were associated with a lower number of reports of sexual exploitation and abuse. These variables produced a commensurate decrease of 69-140 reports of abuse. Based on the findings, the thesis offers a set of policy recommendations pertaining to improving data collection and reporting procedures, cultivating gender equality norms within the mission, and enforcement mechanisms to support the UN’s already-existing policies on sexual abuse. By doing so, it hopes that the UN Mission in Liberia can improve the health and security situation of local men and women it serves, as well as enhance the effectiveness and legitimacy of the UN abroad.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2022
Global Health and Health Policy Program, 2017-2022

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