On a visit to Abyei, USG Christian Saunders calls for strong leadership to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse.
The Under Secretary General (USG), Special Coordinator on Improving the UN Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Christian Saunders, has stressed the crucial role of leadership in effectively combating sexual exploitation and abuse.
USG Saunders made the remarks at the end of a three-day visit to UNISFA in Abyei where he met with the Mission leadership, traditional leaders, and local authority representatives from the southern and northern part of Abyei, among other key players.
“Leadership is very important. Where there is strong leadership, we are more successful in preventing sexual exploitation and abuse than where we have a leadership that is not as engaged. Leaders must to give SEA the attention it deserves so that it does not thrive,” said USG Saunders.
During discussions with local leaders, UNISFA personnel, and peacekeepers, he reaffirmed the UN's foremost responsibility in preventing occurrences of sexual exploitation and abuse. He assured that the UN is dedicated to ensuring the rights of victims are respected and that they receive appropriate support, be it medical, psychosocial, assistance in rebuilding their lives, or aiding children born from such situations.
Local authorities and traditional leaders from both the Northern and Southern sectors of Abyei Box, voiced concern that rising insecurity and the influx of new arrivals fleeing conflicts in Sudan, along with the presence of conflict and flood affected internally displaced persons, are worsening the threat of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
The USG also interacted with female peacekeepers from INDBATT and GHANBATT units. Additionally, he inspected the accommodations at the 'smart camp' for uniformed women.