Peacekeepers at high risk of corruption
The militaries of the 30 countries that provide the most troops and police officers to UN peacekeeping operations are among those most at risk of corruption, shows a study by Transparency International.
The anti-corruption monitoring organisation, which released the study yesterday, said only Italy scored higher than a D in its A-to-F grading for the armed forces of the top troop-contributing countries.
And six countries -- Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Morocco and Togo -- received F grades, said the TI.
The three countries -- Bangladesh, Ethiopia and India -- which make up more than one quarter (about 25,200) of all UN peacekeeping troops scored poorly in the rankings. Bangladesh and India each got a D, and Ethiopia an E.
The TI mentioned poor anti-corruption practices and inadequate training as factors in assessing the rankings. It, however, didn't give any examples of peacekeeper corruption.
The study comes against a backdrop of new allegations against some peacekeepers. The most recent catalyst for concern is a sex-abuse scandal that has implicated peacekeepers deployed to the Central African Republic, in episodes dating to 2013, many involving children.
Katherine Dixon, director of Transparency International Defence and Security Programme, said, “UN peacekeepers operate in some of the most fragile environments in the world, so it is extremely concerning that the majority of defence forces contributing to operations are at such a high risk of corruption.
“This does little to instil confidence that troops on the ground are behaving with integrity. And recent allegations of gross misconduct carried out by peacekeeping troops prove just how real the threat is.
“We continue to support the UN's efforts to ensure that those deployed on peace operations set the highest standards and do not risk contributing to the instability they're trying to stop. But we should be under no illusions that this is a tough challenge.”
United Nations officials didn't dispute the findings of the study. They, however, said it didn't reflect the measures the organisation had taken to prevent corruption by peacekeepers.
"There are a full range of audit and independent oversight systems that are in place to protect against such risks once individual units deploy to peacekeeping operations," said Nick Birnback, a spokesman for UN peacekeeping.