The Gov’t is Morally Unfit to Fight UN over Transactional Sex Case in Wau

Posted: March 12, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Tearz Ayuen, Nairobi, Kenya

March 12, 2018 (SSB) — The United Nations Mission in South Sudan, just like any other entity, has its flaws. In addition, it’s guided by principles; it has its own book of laws – the code of conduct. Personally, I’m opposed to the continued confinement of vulnerable people in those IDP camps. That’s a topic for another day anyway.

When UNMISS headquarters in Juba got wind of the sexual exploitation at the POC in Wau in February, it swiftly recalled the Ghanaian peacekeepers.

This move, according to UNMISS, was meant to allow for preliminary investigation to take place without hindrance. Besides, it was meant to protect eyewitnesses and victims.

But just so you know, the peacekeepers did not rape any woman; they did not sexually harass any girl. They slept with the women and girls at the site based on agreement. This is called transactional sex.

It occurs when money or gifts are exchanged for a sexual relationship. The gifts can be cash or handbags. Often, things such as phones and airtime, groceries and clothing are thrown in as incentives for transactional relationships.

Because of the tough living conditions she is in, a woman at the POC cannot say ‘No’ to a peacekeeper with a dollar bill.

And this is why the UNMISS boss is not happy with the blue berets. They violated the UN and UNMISS code of conduct. All UN peacekeepers are forbidden from having sexual relationships with those they protect, the vulnerable.

So, the case now is not about those who were exploited. Even if the victims could be granted reparations later, the issue is more of professionalism.

But then, the government ‘ku jel ya mith ke nyiir ke’, who are strongly opposed to the continued existence of UNMISS in the country, capitalized on the alleged exploitation, claiming that the peacekeepers must be held accountable for the crimes committed against “my people”. That’s okay. The peacekeepers must be held to account for taking advantage of the helpless women and girls.

But what ‘my people’ is the government talking about? Since when did the government begin to care about the people, especially those in the POC? From whom did the women flee their homes? From whom are the peacekeepers protecting the civilians in POCs?

Take for example, John Andruga, whose native land (Madi) has been turned into a ghost town by the national army, is the one so instrumental in the war against the Wau case. What moral authority does he really have? This is an example of double standard.

How can you drive a woman to a POC and then protect her from any mistreatment at that site? The point is, the government has no moral authority to fight for those suffering its victimization. Only other entities such as groups of human right lawyers and activists can.

Tearz © 2018

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