Peacekeeping and gender violence

A newsreport today states the the Indian Army is investigating allegations that an Indian peacekeeping contingent stationed in Congo sexually exploited women there and fathered children. Of course, it is always possible that some of these followed from consensual relationships, but the power and privilege equation between the two individuals would make that debatable.

As the article reminds us, this is not the first such allegation.  The Army usually investigates and then sometimes dismisses such charges. When pressed, senior Army officials describe the human rights training and the recreational facilities made available to soldiers to “work off their excess energy.” But this is a problem that has lasted through history: that sexual violence is considered one of the spoils of war, that it is both weapon and vent for all the excessive testosterone energy that war calls up.

Read this report today: Varinder Bhatia, Army probes reports of its UN peacekeepers fathering kids in Congo, Indian Express, June 7, 2011.

You can also see: Peacekeeping and gender–my New Indian Express article of 2008 (Swarna Rajagopalan, Guardians stray from the straight path, New Indian Express, Chennai, August 25, 2008) on the same subject.

About Swarna Rajagopalan
I am a political scientist by training with a special interest in security studies.

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