The United States and several countries contributing UN troops clashed Thursday on the role of the UN Security Council in handling accusations of sexual abuse against UN peacekeepers, with the US pushing for strong action when claims are substantiated.

The council discussed the issue after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a report last week publicly disclosing for the first time the nationalities of UN military and police personnel involved in sexual abuse allegations.

According to the report, a total of 69 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation were made against civilian staff and military and police personnel from 21 countries deployed on UN peacekeeping missions in 2015.

The allegations came from 10 UN peacekeeping missions, with 22 cases reported in the Central African Republic alone.

Under UN guidelines, contributing countries are responsible for investigating and prosecuting allegations made against uniformed personnel, which, in the absence of a requirement to report on the outcomes, often allowed such crimes to go unpunished.

In response to the report, the US drafted a Security Council resolution that would require the repatriation of whole contingents if a pattern of sexual abuse is found, UN diplomats said.

Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, urged countries on the 15-member council to consider sexual abuse by peacekeepers as a threat to international peace and security, which the council is tasked with upholding.

"Some have argued that this discussion does not have a place at the UN Security Council," Power said. "They are mistaken."

Power noted that when governments, armed groups and terrorists attack civilians, it is the council's responsibility to raise concerns.

"So why in the world when they are UN peacekeepers that attack people, it isn't our job?" Power said.

Russia said, however, that the issue should be taken up by the UN General Assembly, which includes all 193 member states of the UN, including troop-contributing countries.

"It would simply be wrong to set the council up against the General Assembly," said Peter Iliichev, Russian deputy ambassador to the UN.

"We continue to be convinced that issues of peacekeeping discipline are not related to the maintenance of international peace and security," Iliichev added.

Several troop-contributing countries, including Egypt and Pakistan, also spoke out against the draft resolution, saying that they should be consulted before measures are imposed.

Amr Aboulatta, Egyptian ambassador to the UN whose country currently has more than 2,800 troops deployed at UN missions, said the General Assembly had the mandate to review the issue of sexual abuse. He also opposed the proposal that entire contingents should be sent home because of a few individuals committing crimes.

"Accountability must be confined to those committing the crime and not the others," Aboulatta said.

Troop-contributing countries receive more than 1,300 dollars per month for every uniformed personnel sent to UN missions.

Secretary General Ban told the council that continued allegations of sexual abuse against UN peacekeepers destroy the trust between blue helmets and those they are intended to serve.

"When sexual exploitation and abuse are perpetrated on these individuals by the United Nations personnel authorised to protect them, it further victimizes and violates them and inflicts untold harm on already fragile communities," Ban said.

Latest news

Gambia's new President Barrow fires army chief

Gambia's new President Adama Barrow has sacked army chief Ousman Badjie, replacing him with a presidential military aide.

Star investor Buffett takes a bigger bite of Apple, doubling shares

Stock market guru Warren Buffett on Monday revealed that his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway doubled its share of iPhone producer Apple stocks last month.

Minister: Erdogan not welcome in Austria for referendum campaign

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should not come to Austria to campaign to Turkish citizens living there ahead of a constitutional reform referendum in his country, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Monday.

Migrant group: Britain hits 'new low' by deporting grandmother

Britain has hit a "new low" by deporting a grandmother from north-eastern England to Singapore, a migrants' rights group said on Monday.

Turkish prosecutors seek arrest warrant for detained German reporter

Turkish prosecutors are seeking an arrest warrant for German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who was taken into police custody 13 days ago.

1.4 million people without water after deadly floods in Chile

More than 1.4 million people were without drinking water in the Chilean capital of Santiago on Monday following catastrophic flooding that left at least three people dead.

Serbia PM says no snap parliamentary election

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that an early parliamentary election would not be held simultaneously with a presidential vote, although the state leadership had announced such a possibility.  

Trump touts 'security budget' with 10-per-cent defence spending hike

US President Donald Trump said he will present a "public security and national security budget," which will hike defence spending by 54 billion dollars or about 10 per cent.

National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen fined for Roma comments

The founder of France's far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had a 5,000-euro (5,300-dollar) fine for inciting racial hatred and discrimination confirmed on appeal on Monday.

Croatia-Montenegro relations example for region, says minister

After meeting Croatian Ambassador Veselko Grubisic in Podgorica on Monday, Montenegrin Defence Minister Predrag Boskovic said that relations between Croatia and Montenegro were very good and could serve as an example to other countries in the region.

Over 31,000 South Sudanese flee fighting and hunger to Sudan

Fleeing escalating fighting and famine in South Sudan, over 31,000 people have arrived in neighbouring Sudan so far this year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said Monday.

SDP urges gov't to pull statement making radical turn in human rights

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Monday called on the government to take a position on the Croatian foreign policy's turn in human rights, which it said was initiated by Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier, and to withdraw a Foreign Ministry statement on that sent to Brussels.

Police says photoshopped photo of Milanka Opacic motivated by hate

An investigation has proved that a photograph showing Parliament Deputy Speaker Milanka Opacic wearing a shirt with four Cyrillic letters "S" (standing for "only unity saves the Serb", a popular motto and slogan in Serbia and among Serb nationalists) is a photomontage and the police suspect that publishing and distributing the said photo has been motivated by hate and intolerance.

Finance Ministry says didn't analyse HEP's readiness for IPO

The Ministry of Finance on Monday announced that it had not analysed the justification or the readiness of power provider Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) for an initial public offering with regard to a possible acquisition of Hungarian energy company MOL's stake in Croatia's INA.

Berlin confirms murder of German hostage in the Philippines

Berlin confirmed on Monday the murder of a German hostage by the militant Islamist group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines with Chancellor Angela Merkel condemning the killing as "barbaric" and "abominable".

Syrian refugees arrive in Italy with help from Christian groups

A group of 50 Syrian refugees, more than half of them children, landed in Italy early Monday, entering the country on humanitarian visas obtained with the help of a lay Catholic NGO, Protestant organizations and the Italian government.

Macedonian opposition claims right to assume government

Macedonia's opposition Social Democratic (SDSM) leader Zoran Zaev on Monday said that he expects to take over as prime minister because he has managed to build a majority in parliament.

EU tightens sanctions on North Korea in response to nuclear test

The European Union tightened sanctions against North Korea on Monday adding import bans and other restrictions to already tough measures in place against the reclusive regime.