tv Hearing on Sexual Abuse and U.N. Peacekeeping CSPAN April 16, 2016 2:30pm-4:52pm EDT
i do believe we are shipping the -- positively shaping behavior and outcomes, no amount of training, no integration is a panacea. as we know, there are far too many serious incidents that still occur. and i, like my colleagues, i'm hopeful that recent policy changes to promote transparency will help. they have to continue to follow through. and if the gpoi partner fails to follow up on those allegations, failing to take responsibility in the jurisprudence system, we have to be ready as a nation to consider suspending security assistance. we have to take a deliberate decision and how we do that. in the end, well-trained and well disciplined and well-equipped units, they are the very building blocks to effective peacekeeping. and while there are many success stories out there, we are well aware of the track record is not perfect by any means. and so, whether it is indirectly or directly, through ongoing
training, through expanding the role of women, we remain committed to improvement overseas with the u.n. and our partner countries. to rid us of the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse. thank you for your time. i stand by for your questions. senator corker: we thank you all for the testimony. look, my guess is that you all are as upset as we are. you work in an organization, that whether it is at state, certainly at the u.n. making something happen. it is almost impossible. and my sense is that you do welcome a hearing like this to highlight the problems that exist. my understanding is that the level of violence, sexual abuse, the kinds of things are happening to vulnerable people that we are supposed to be protecting, is actually much higher than reported.
because the very people out there "protecting" populations are also protecting in many cases the human rights workers who may be reporting this. would that assumption, ambassador coleman, be appropriate that reporting levels are far lower than they otherwise would be? people out in the field, these peacekeeping folks are there to protect them, too. and there are concerns about the in the field, making reports. isobel: thank you for the question, senator. i think you're absolutely correct to make the assumption that levels of reporting are below what they actually are. i think it is for a variety of
reasons. i think that what we are seeing in the central african republic, with a lot of the allegations coming to light now, in particular parts of the country, are because the security situation is improving. and we are now able to send more people out to some of these remote areas, where you have had a single country contingent, which in and of itself is a risk factor, which the u.n. is now recognizing, that in remote areas where we should not have single country contingents. i think you are seeing an improvement in security, allowing people in the community to feel more safe and comfortable in coming forward to report abuses. and what i can tell you mr. chairman, in the coming months, i think we're going to see more allegations coming to light. i don't think we have nearly seen the end of this problem. as the u.n. shines a spotlight on this issue, and we are going to see more allegations, not fewer. senator corker: which countries are the ones that are the worst,
? name them. isobel: i wish i could say that this was just a couple of countries. but what we are seeing is that it runs the full gamut of countries, from countries with seemingly very well-trained and equipped, disciplined troops. the french forces have been named. two countries, burundi and the tanzanians, gabon, the drc troops themselves. the moroccans, there are many, many countries that have these allegations. so, i cannot point a finger at one being particularly bad. we do know that in the central african republic, the contingents that have been repatriated, where troops from the republic of congo and the democratic republic of congo and they were repatriated because there was --
corker: i apologize. i have to give things then within a certain time. i have a whole list of countries here. it is beyond belief that some of them -- germany? other countries, let me ask you this, if i can ask some personal questions, have you all had kids? do you have a family? if you know u.n. security, u.n. peacekeeping mission was going to your neighborhood right now, would you not have the same response i had, that you would rush home to protect your family from the peacekeepers? would that be your response? honestly, would you please tell me? isobel: mr. chairman, i have five kids. and when i was preparing for the testimony today, last night, and i had to talk with my daughters about what i was doing and what i would be talking about, it was a very difficult conversation.
what i can also tell you is that, having just recently returned from the central african republic, i'm so thankful that my children are being raised in the united states. and in an environment where rule of law is primary. and in the central african republic, i met people who are the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. their families have suffered it directly. and i asked them that question, would you prefer that there are no peacekeepers here? and i did not know what the answer would be. ambassador power and i sat with them together. would you prefer, given what you have experienced on the peacekeepers returned home? all of them, they all said no. what we want is accountability and we want justice to be served. senator corker: let me ask you this, what is wrong with the secretary-general of the u.n.?
this report, the one that you referred to, it is 10 years old. what is wrong with him? what is wrong with him? i mean, is he so inept that he cannot call the body like this to keep this from happening over and over again? and we are just now beginning to put processes in place, what is wrong with him? isobel: i would say those processes have been put in place coming out of that a decade ago, but they have not been put in place. -- been acted upon. senator corker: that is my point. how do we put up with such inept leadership at the united nations? how do we do that? isobel: i do not think it is ineptitude. i think it is a reluctance to take on the opposition on troop-exhibiting countries that -- of troop contributing
countries that do not want to deal with this on a transparent way. a transparent senator corker: we have the law here called the leahy act that says when we know this, we withhold money. have we withheld money? gen. rothschild: i cannot give you an example of where we have withheld money for these things. the good news is, up until recently, we do not have the -- did not have the kind of visibility that we needed to be a will to pursue these things. -- able to pursue these things. now certainly with the leahy law, we do not go forward with doing security assistance anymore. and that is out there. and all units that we train already go through that process. any training that we have done has been vetted through the leahy process. i think what is good about what is happening now, i think we
would all agree that to happen sooner, but we are now getting more information coming through from the u.n. that we do not have access to before. and that will allow us to do it better than we have done before. senator corker: let me just, we a second round with you all, but i look at the list of countries that are violators. most of them are, many of them receive aid from the u.s. in other forms. i do not understand why we continue to send money to countries outside of the u.n. that allow this type of abuse to take place. so, i do not think we are using the leverage that we have. i think we should be withholding payments to the u.n., until this ends, or doing some level of reduction.
but it does not seem to me -- it seems to me that this is not that important to the u.n. or they went done much more about it over the last 10 years. -- or they would have done much more about it over the last 10 years. by the way, the people you talk to, i would say they are somewhat fearful to say they don't want to be there, with officials in your presence. but i just don't think the united states is using the levelers that we have, not at your level but other levels, we're not stopping this. i think the u.n. is in great jeopardy of building enough critical mass around here, where severe penalties should be taken against them, with withholding of funds from them because of their ineptness, their lack of concern, their lack of care. after 10 years, to continue to allow this to occur, i hope that
actions will be taken against them. because it is obviously something that is not important to them. otherwise, this could've been stopped a long time ago. ineptness, lack of a moral compass, lack of concern for vulnerable people. senator cardin? senator cardin: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to first thank you all. and i mean that. this is not easy work. and we appreciate your commitment and passion to get this right, on behalf of global vulnerable people. thank you for your commitment. i do acknowledge the fact that we do have more information than we had a year or two ago. my staff has given me a copy of what is on the u.n. webpage, on those who have been accused of sexual abuse. looks like approximately, since
the beginning of 2015, i'm rounding, but it could be 90, somewhere that range, episodes involving the same number of victims. and, of all those cases, i went through it quickly, only four have been finalized with any jail time. and i also point out what the chairman said, that these are the reported cases. we know that in some countries, the seriousness of this issue, even though it is globally acknowledged of being the worst types of conduct, but in some governments and some countries, it is not considered a serious issue. and that means that the reporting is going to be spotty in some of the missions. and then the pressure that is on the command structure has always
been there, we saw that in the u.s. command structure when we were dealing with trafficking of military facilities located in other countries not participating. and took us a while before we were able to change the culture. and we know that is also a problem. but my specific question to you is, it is one thing to get the secretary-general to withdraw the mission, if they do not do certain things. and i am all for that. the two sections that i see in the united security council resolution 2272, which we just passed last month. the chairman is right, this has been going on for a long time. and we finally got a un security council resolution passed last month. section 4 deals with gathering evidence, but most of that section deals with, rightly so, how you deal with victims and making sure the mission is well-trained, etc.
and then, section 9 says it urges all member states to take concrete steps in combating impunity for sexual exploitation. what are we doing? what is the united states, our leadership doing to make sure that those who have perpetrated these horrible acts are going to end up in jail? tracey: thank you for your question, senator. it is a very important topic. i think you hit on something key here. we have talked about what the u.n. is or is not doing. but the crux of the matter is what are the police contributing countries doing to hold those perpetrated these crimes accountable?
based on the new reporting we have of nationalities, we finally have a tool that allows us to go to those countries, to see what they are doing, to urge them to do better. and i think you mentioned the four cases from last year that have gone through the whole process. there are at least another 20, where trials are occurring now. 20 trials in the democratic republic of congo. that government is conducting against peacekeepers who have been accused of this. also, the republic of south africa has an on-site court-martial that is going on right now. so, we're starting to see the actions taken, that these countries now know that we know what they're doing. we know where the troops are coming from. and that we are going to continue to shine a spotlight on the issue. we sent a mission just last month, this was the subject of high-level discussion with our ambassadors who were all back here in washington last month for the conference. and we have been very clear with countries that we have gone out to, that this is not just one sort of discussion. that we're going to be coming back regularly to determine what they're doing and holding their feet to the fire.
senator cardin: let me just underscore the point of the -- that the chairman made. i support peacekeeping. a lot of u.s. taxpayer money goes into it. i have a right, as a senator, to know that section 9 of the un security council resolution is being enforced. i do not believe that the countries that have people who have perpetrated this, some of the countries will follow through. with this requirement of combating impunity, making sure that the perpetrators are held accountable and are serving prison time. so, what are you going to do to provide me with information on how we are doing and every one -- in every one of these countries that have perpetrators, as to how their system of justice is handling this, acceptable to
international standards? tracey: senator, it is very important that we continue to follow up with each of these countries in a repeated way. and we are doing that, happy to provide you at any time with the results of our conversations -- senator cardin: i want to be a little more proactive. i want to know what you plan to do, working with the members of congress, to keep us informed in a timely way, as to how every country that sends peacekeepers to countries, the systems that they have employed to deal with those who have perpetrated these types of backs. -- of acts. first of all, i don't think we have enough. i do not think -- i think we had be more proactive. the united states, making sure that those were victimized have
-- who were victimized have an opportunity to come forward. i think we have to be more direct with the political structure within the united nations to make sure that every country, perpetrators are identified, so that we have by country what is happening. and that we follow every particular case. because, quite frankly, i do not have confidence in their system to provide justice. international justice, not u.s. justice. and i think the more transparency you can put into this, the more important it is. i want you to come back to me, this committee, and tell me what we are going to be receiving on a regular basis, as to what is happening in every one of these countries. in holding the perpetrators accountable, and how those trials are going forward, and whether in fact you can say with confidence that they have taken steps to prevent impunity for those who have committed these crimes. will you do that? tracey: yes, senator. thank you. in fact, we have already started a certain exercise to do just this. there is a whole team of people behind me engaged on this everyday.
we are putting together , essentially -- what we want to do is combine the new transparency we are getting on the u.n. with our own information that we get from our embassies in the field. we are preparing what we call a data haul, but it is an actual effort to go out to every country that hosts a peacekeeping mission to answer a series of questions based on our own observations, engagement, our own analysis, so that we can bring that information back to washington and do exactly what you say, to make a determination about whether the countries are doing the right thing or not. senator cardin: so, senator corker and i, we talked about this. the leahy rule, which i support, indicates that we do not give aid to countries that do not adhere to basic international standards. holding them accountable for these types of atrocities would
be contrary to international norm. you will have to help us draft the appropriate type of oversight to make sure that the countries understand that they must act to prevent impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes. understood? tracey: yes, senator. sen. cardin: otherwise, we will draft it. you may not like the way we draft it. i will just warn you. tracey: understood. we are working in the appropriation language, which does require the kind of certification you are describing. and we are looking forward to working with you to put that information together. sen. cardin: thank you. sen. corker: senator isakson? sen. isakson: i appreciate you and the ranking member focusing on this. and i appreciate your comments -- complements to the u.n. regarding transparency. finally making some moves. you know, putting in a year-end
report, how many violations of rape against women, not much transparency. and putting it on the website is pretty good, but a lot of these victims would not know a website if they saw one. they are in a remote part of the world. i want to echo what senator cardin and corker have said. holding these people accountable in some way, if not the least by withholding funds until they comply with human rights. but here is the question. when senator corker and i went to darfur, one of the many things i learned is that rape is a military tactic in africa. it is not a violation. they teach it. senator corker: that is right. senator isakson: when we went to darfur, we do not see a man 12 or younger than
72. they had all fled. the women had fled. they had weathered and endured much pain. they look like they were that old. the army that came in raped the women to break the family. the son is conscripted to the family. this is an ongoing practice. i am not just speaking of africa. but it is one place i know where it takes place. and unless there was a significant consequence of the united states funds, and this may address your organization , we are just in the wind. in the wind. general, is there any burden on any status
enforcement regarding legal accountability to which those peacekeeping troops will be, in the event they create a felony or a crime? general: thanks for the question. i will have to defer. i know there is a memorandum between the country and those countries that go to a mission and the country they're working in. but i do not know the details of that, to be able to unwrap that further for you. i don't know if i could turn it over to you, ambassador? isobel: there is a memorandum of understanding, and a model that is negotiated every three years. that negotiation is coming up in 2017. and strengthening the provision to be very explicit and incredibly direct on sexual exploitation and abuse is one of my goals for the upcoming negotiation. off of that model, there are specific mou specifics that are u's that aremo negotiated between the country and the u.n. what i can tell you center is
senator, is that this is not a problem at its core of lack of words on paper. this is a problem of political will. and it is a problem that has persisted for too long, where words on paper have been ignored. words on paper have been disregarded. so, even within the existing mou's, the tccs have not abided by that. and now, we will not tolerate that going forward. senator isakson: as long as these troops, many using sexual violence as a tool of war, if deployed as a peacekeeper if all of a sudden because of the initiative the u.s. takes, and other peace-loving take because we start holding all people accountable, will start serving time for rape and violence against women or whatever it might be, the word will get out really fast. the u.n. is the best at making
agreements, putting words on paper, but not the very best at putting those words to working life. so, my point is that if we could get to some sort of status of forces agreement between countries that supply troops and the u.n., requiring the agreement between them and the country they are deployed in, and have a concrete, not you must establish a force in 90 days, but that you will be liable and punished for rape, murder, or whatever capital felonies we want to include in there, the most egregious of which, and then do an example of it, that withholding money are the two things that will get these guys' attention. the rest of them, we don't have anyone's attention right now. not whatsoever. and it is a frightening thing. and i think that t gpoi, which is an agency, which is a vision of the state department, right? general: yes, sir. that is the division under my leadership. sen. isaacson: i would hope you
would work with the trade part of the u.s., working if you could fight violence against women with the agreements we make in commerce. senator coons and i just opened the markets in south africa for domestic united states chicken. the terms of the african growth and opportunity act, the trade agreement between the countries. people do not like rape or violence, they sure do like like to eat. and they like to have commerce and trade. if you predicate participant in those things, with them being committed to ending violence against women and sexual violence as a practice, then we can start going a long way towards making something happen. that is the kind of leverage that really makes a difference. i am not belittling the annual report or the website. but i'm telling you it is one thing to tell them your name is on a website, it's another thing say you cannot trade anymore. we have gotten countries in africa to change labor laws in
order to get in compliance. we had to start importing chickens. it seems to me that the state department should leverage some of the benefits we do on a daily basis with countries around the world who may provide peacekeepers, see where you could not tie the two together. then all of a sudden, you have a big stick and some of his and in some of these countries, unless you have a big stick, you ain't got nothing. pardon my english. so i would just suggest that that would be one way to make an economic impact in terms of better behavior from some of these countries. thank you, mr. chairman. senator corker: thank you. one thing before going to senator coons, what kind of political resistance exist to keep soldiers from raping and abusing young girls and young boys? what kind of resistance do you face at this united nations body? isobel: the resistance, mr.
chairman, is over giving up any control or jurisdiction, with respect to how issues of conduct and discipline are handled by tcc's themselves, troop-determining countries. -- troop contribute in countries. our effortssisted to increase transparency on these issues out of fear that it --ld this honor their troops this honor their troops, dishonor peacekeeping. dishonor -- what i say to in notthe dishonor is an being transparent and not prosecuting. when you are seeing in a positive way today is that there is no longer a monolithic resistance on these issues.
there are troop contribute in countries that recognize that we face a crisis and they recognize wagonsmply circling the and saying no to transparency and know to accountability actually undermining peacekeeping come undermining their own integrity. we have seen some progress recently on that front. i know most members have seen the list, but a large number of are inthat are violators the peacekeeping mission to make money. they are in the peacekeeping mission to make money. sorry -- i can't imagine how political resistance could keep us from enforcing against these countries that make money off doing this in this particular situation.
coons: thank you for your assistance in fighting sure trafficking, making we don't just hold hearings on the deplorable conditions of the victims of sexual abuse and violence around the world. i want to thank all of our witnesses for your testimony from both panels, especially ambassador coleman, who is trying to institute real reforms. last week, i went to the u.n. headquarters to meet with the undersecretary general for peacekeeping operations. i was struck by the challenges that peacekeepers face, by the number of countries where we have peacekeepers deployed, and by the possibilities of peacekeeping in terms of
protecting fragile countries from falling into being failed states. i have supported peacekeeping efforts in terms of appropriations support and they viewed as a positive way to build peace. the allegations made across dozens of different missions for decades are simply shocking and unacceptable. it is the u.s. that is footing most of the bill for the peacekeepers who are committing these atrocities against men, women, and children. if the people who we are funding and supporting to the peacekeepers cannot be trusted to keep peace, our support for peacekeeping is at risk of doing more harm than good. we have to act, not just listen
to bring an end to sexual exploitation. simply providing peacekeepers and police does not fulfill a member state's obligation. it is the responsibility of member states to oversee the appropriate units. it is a struggle. many of the contributing countries are deploying peacekeepers in order to get troops paid we are not attracting the best, most capable forces from around the world. before we make progress, we have to institute meaningful accountability for nations and their peacekeepers that connect these crimes. i've been forward to exploring ways we can help the u.n. push for accountability that is meaningful to and these crimes.
-- to end these crimes. ambassador, tell me what training methods have proven most effective so far? i would like all panel members to answer this question. what has been successful to reduce -- is the training of the many of the contributing countries that sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war yet what training is most effective at preventing that? >> if you would allow me to say i want to reiterate a point that general rothstein made which is that this is not fundamentally about a training issue.
there is no training that will guarantee that this will not occur. when you look at the troops committing abuses, some of them are among the best trained. we know that they have explicit components of sexual exploitation prevention in the training methods. ultimately, it is an accountability issue. there is no contributing country that is immune from these abuses, it is how they deal with it that provides prevention. >> how effective is naming and shaming? a number of implicated countries
are close allies of ours. i think accountability matters before training. how effective is naming and shaming? >> thank you. i like to avoid the phrase naming and shaming because i see no shame in naming -- accountability. it really is a watershed for us to be able to identify the countries and to be able to follow directly with them and not allow the passivity that has existed, the sweeping under the carpet. the lack of accountability, to not allowed anymore senator isaacson talked about having a big stick and you talked about money.
to be able to say that you will not participate in peacekeeping any longer if you do not all troops accountable, if you do not sit -- report back to the security council, if you do not prosecute these allegations, that is ultimately the u.n.'s big stick. could she did in countries will overtake jurisdiction over their troops. they can choose to have a full appropriate response or not. if they do not, they should not be part of peacekeeping. >> i could not agree more. i am ashamed that we have been supporting peacekeepers that are doing horrible things. we want to find a mechanism for accountability that is appropriate. and that uses the factory are one of the contributors of peacekeeping support. general, what sorts of engagement accountability are most effective for troops?
>> [inaudible] i apologize. let me start by echoing what the ambassador said. training is necessary. i do not think it is efficient. this is broader than training in a belief we have to train through the training that we provide, we think it is pretty good. what we work to do in our training, we start in a classroom. we moved to scenarios. we moved exercises. we focus on unit leadership. we were closely with the united nations to find the best practices. we make sure they understand the policy. all of that will not be sufficient. i would echo when ambassador
coleman said we need to focus on accountability. just because you have a rotten individual or unit does not mean you want to disengage from the country. as we remain focused on future outcomes, if that country will still deploy every want to effect it for the better, we want to be involved in the training to make it better and not walk away. those of the difficult decisions. sen. coons: i am looking forward to the second panel where we will hear about you when suppression of whistleblowers and the likelihood that these abuses are more widespread. thank you. >> on this issue, there ought to be some way for us to figure out a way to surgically deal with this in a bipartisan manner that gets at this issue, not bringing in other issues.
we ought to be on a figure out a way to do it. senator flake will ask senator shaheen to ask her questions. sen. shaheen: thank you for your testimony and for the work you are doing. i want to follow up with what you said about how important it is for the u.n. to hold countries accountable and to ask, has ever been done? do we have examples of where that has occurred and we have seen a change in behavior and if that is the case, why haven't we instituted a process whereby that is on a regular basis? >> thank you. the u.n. has consistently followed up with the contributing countries when allegations come to their attention. they have documented and presented evidence. they have followed up with a
contributor countries. too often, they are met with silence. and frankly, have acted with timidity in pushing back on the tcc and demanding action. sen. shaheen: that is the question i am asking. is there a case, can you cite a time when the u.n. has demanded action is taken to putting country has failed to act where we have denied them funding for continuing to contribute to peacekeeping efforts? isobel: i know of a number of examples. some of them have happened with u.s. urging. the uruguayans in haiti had sexual abuse allegations.
we know about them at the time. there was not a website, this was not published, but we learned about it. we engaged bilaterally. they did take action. they held a public trial. they flew victims from haiti to the trial. we know the u.n. has engaged with a number of member states that have been responsive. i learned about the south one of theirhow forced intervention had a number of allegations. the u.n. brought it to the highest levels of attention in the south african army in the -- army and they dealt with it. it does happened. the issue is that it doesn't always happen. too often, they get no response from the tcc.
when that happens, if we do not know about it, or if another member state doesn't, it falls through the cracks. >> one of the issues raised is that there is no agency responsible just for this. is that the assessment of the panel that if we had a person in charge of just making sure that when there are allegations that troop contributing countries are taking action doll people responsible? would that help solve the problem? >> the independent panel report in excruciating detail catalogs how information was diffused, fragmented, the bureaucratic response that so appalled us in response the u.n. has appointed a person as a special envoy to
deal with the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse and we welcome that appointment right we think that that will help provide a focal point within the u.n. said that there can never again be an excuse that the diffusion of responsibility allowed critical information and -- fall through the cracks to occur. we absolutely welcome that. >> has she taken any action? >> she is recently appointed. right now, she has been in the central african republic, the democratic republic of congo. i think you will see action coming out of her, from her office. sen. corker: the leahy
legislation that would have the united states denied assistance. is this something that has been done in particular instances where there have been documented cases of sexual exploitation and abuse? have we actually seen the united states deny aid to countries you have failed to take action? >> certainly will we have credible evidence, those things that fall under that lady laws at the individual unit level when we have that information that goes into our database that we work both through the nation in countries when those individuals potentially come of her security assistance with the united states as well as databases back here. so i don't have a specific example that if there is somebody who has credible allegations, they were going the database and we would not work with that unit or individual and that process is in place. >> i am asking a broader question. have we actually denied aid to countries who have contributed
troops to peacekeeping missions who have failed to take action with those troops on allegations that have been shown to be true? >> at the overall country level, we have not suspended to my knowledge and overall -- country. >> should we? should be considered that action if we see repeated abuses? i would like each of you to respond to that. >> we absolutely have to be ready to consider that. it is important we take it on a case-by-case basis. as i said earlier, from my perspective, it is not so much that an incident happen, it is with the country does about it. if a country lacks the will to follow through on that, because incidents are going to happen -- and so, if the country takes reasonable action of follow-through, then we probably ought to continue working with
him. >> i am actually asking if they failed to take action. should we look at suspending aid? >> thank you. it is an important question because we have to think about the leverage that we have in our relations with countries but i think we have to look at it in a holistic way. most of the assistance we provide to africa is in the health area. we are not in the business of giving out freebies because we want to feel good, we are in the business of providing assistance that meets needs. you have to weigh whether or not
it makes sense to cut assistance we are providing to prevent the spread of pandemic disease in response to a countries and ability to deal with sexual exploitation and abuse. in other areas, we are providing assistance to support the rule of law system and development of capacity to enforce law. i would want to redirect how that is used. it is a tool, not necessarily the two of first resort. you have to look at what the assistance is directed to you. we are try to do that on a case-by-case basis through our engagement with the countries named in the report and that is an ongoing conversation we will have. >> i would just say that if countries are not responding or taking action, they should not be included in a u.n. peacekeeping. therefore our contributions through our peacekeeping assessments should not be going to those countries. i completely agree that u.s. engagement to strengthen countries are great but if there is a willful nonresponsiveness,
they should not be part of peacekeeping. >> thank you all. >> senator markey? sen. markey: thank you. can i ask how we deal with the >> thank you all. countries from which these soldiers come? we are talking about the training of soldiers but does the country itself need training? do we need a program that goes the step before to get to the adults in these countries so that they are taking intervention steps necessary early on to be made accountable?
those of the people that we have given the training to -- what is that program that we may or may not have in place? >> thank you. you raise a very hard topic. as a general rule, in my experience, doing tactical training, pre-deployment training is hard but we are pretty good at it as a country. helping to build those institutions that backs up tactical operations units is more difficult.
it is intellectually more difficult. i just came out of a year in afghanistan where my job was to build the afghan air force. now is trying to build their institution so i have lived a little bit of this myself and it is hard work. we have programs out there where we are trying to get after that. in the state department, we have a program that is taking a look at countries, how we can after the institution building that has to back this up -- the rule of law. the defense department -- i don't want to speak for them because i do not know but i know they are working some of the defense programs. those are the things we are trying to work but it is difficult. it will take a long time because change in our own bureaucracy, think how hard it is to make change happen much less when you are working through a foreign government. we will have to stay at this for a while.
>> i do not think you can solve the problem until those leaders in the justice system in the own countries have the proper training and gumption to enforce the laws. these are just young men on the prowl in a foreign country. that is a dangerous thing without proper supervision back home. what would you like to see put on the books? what would you like to see funded? to teach them with a stick will be could potentially try to have them except as a standard by the proper educational standards. without us having to punish the country.
tracey: i want to include the thought that we started our effort last month to go to every country on the list, this is part of what we were asking. we want to make sure they understood the gravity of the allegations. we wanted to impart on them the importance of following up. third was to open a dialogue about what the country needs in terms of assistance to build up his own ability to investigate and respond. those conversations are at an early level. we only got the information last month that we are going to build on. those conversations are going to feed back into our decisions about assistance we provide including the law area. we should engage and hopefully we should be funded. where countries are now willing, where they don't have the gumption, those countries should
be barred from peacekeeping altogether. i believe that the resolution in the security council that we fought for provides for that kind of banning from peacekeeping. >> let's talk about the countries you think are the worst. give us the worst three countries. so we can just get an idea of what we are talking about. in terms of their total lack of regard for humans rights violations? can you give us the three worst? >> i will refer to my colleague ambassador coleman who previously said it is hard to say who is the worst because we are only now in a world movie can identify what countries are doing.
>> we have congo, morocco, cameroon, tanzania, burundi, nigeria, togo, ghana, madagascar, senegal, canada, germany, slovakia, moldova -- do you want to pick three? if you don't want to put in canada, you don't have to? you might want to give us an idea of where this problem is and it will focus our attention more precisely on what we should start with? we should probably start with the worst in him we can know when we have to have is a project to teach the country how much they should care. would you like to try that, ambassador? >> what you are saying is important. we need to identify where the
problems are. we are looking at a case like a democratic republic allegations against them are horrific but we think the secretary general did the right thing by sending them home. they are not in peacekeeping anywhere else. at the same time, as part of this focus on the issues, we have seen that the democratic republic of congo has detained 20 peacekeepers to start trials against them. what we need to see is to the trials go? several countries you mentioned have started judicial processes or finished them against peacekeepers who were accused. i would say it is too early to answer the question as to who is the worst because we haven't seen --
>> are you saying congo is there as a country that has already received special attention? are there to bring others you and i to tell us if you are going to prioritize your we should be focusing that have been particularly bad? >> maybe i can comment. the prc troops were repatriated because of a pattern of abuse. there were so many abuses that they were repatriated. in addition, the republic of congo troops were also repatriated because of a pattern of abuse. they are two different things going on. one is a pattern of abuse which speaks to a lack of control in the other is a pattern of nonresponsiveness.
on that pattern of abuse, has allegations become apparent, it is easy to see when there has been a pattern of abuse, in terms of nonresponsiveness, we are only now understanding which countries have allegations that have been pending for a long time where there has been inadequate follow-up and accountability. in that process, we are looking at which are those countries and we do not have an answer for you. we will get back to you with that answer. >> it is important for us to know. >> yes. >> you have to narrow it down for us because senator cardin is saying that we have the ability to think creatively about all of the other relationships that we have with the country that can help to get the leaders who general austin was sitting are reluctant to have their judicial
system fully engaged in nature that they are accountable and that the soldiers are accountable -- the military is accountable -- >> and we look at it in the same way. >> when will you have that list together? that would be a great hearing to just have. those worst offenders focused upon by the committee. >> are you talking about highest incidence or nonresponsiveness? >> it is going to be a combination. i ensure it is one in the same. >> not necessarily. that is what we are trying to untangle. there are some countries that have had pretty significant
allegations against them. you now see the democratic republic of congo putting 20 people on trial. so taking quite an aggressive action about that. it is very early stages of that. a lot of times it takes in fact quite a long time for these things to work their way through their judicial system. the point i want to emphasize is that having a week judicial system, having a process that doesn't meet our standards, all rule of law is no excuse for not taking action. there is not one tcc that has deployed to a peacekeeping mission that doesn't have the ability to impose discipline -- >> we are agree with you. what the chairman is saying is we want to help you.
there is no excuse. just tell us who they are, what their excuses are, and we will try to reinforce it because there is the power of the purse which the congress does have to focus their attention. >> thank you. >> just to clarify, this has been helpful exchange. the united nations can discipline a country that doesn't take appropriate steps by denying them the right to be a tcc. the u.n. resolution speaks directly to that. if they are not responsive on doesn't appear to be any direct remedy the other nations can take than the peer pressure or public
information that is made available. that is why we are looking for ways in which we can help in regard to getting impunity. there are two points you raised before. >> it is unbelievable that we had a report in 2005 and you just now -- not you -- just now publishing information. it speaks to terrible leadership, lack of concern, unwillingness to deal with tough issues. i think it speaks favorably of the human leadership -- i do not think it speaks favorably of the u.n. leadership.
>> were there provisions dealing the mou's?draft of if that is not part of the security council resolution, is that an area we should focus on? >> it is not part of the security council resolution because those decisions are not taken up in the security council, they're taken up in the general assembly. the model mo you on which all of them are based is renegotiated every several years. it will be up for review coming in 2017 and it is absolutely an area that is ripe for review, for making more explicit actions regarding sexual exploitation. >> we work on some bipartisan
strategy, you know, strong demand. it is something that i think we would all probably agree with that is the only question i have. i appreciate it. >> do want to follow up with this panel? listen, we are all very upset -- i think you are too -- i know that typically the administration doesn't particularly appreciate input from folks who sit on the side of the dais. in this case, maybe they would welcome that. i look forward to looking with -- working with members on both sides of the aisle to figure out a way to put additional pressure on -- i have to tell you, if i had to go to work and deal with
the united nations, i would have to find other lines of work so we thank you for attempting to deal with this morass that is so ineffective. we thank you for your efforts. we appreciate your efforts to nature that training is done at a better level, the work you are doing at the state department. we do want to assist you in penalizing countries that tolerate this and do not do the appropriate, do not take the appropriate action so we will be working with you very closely for the next several weeks. with that, we hope you have an opportunity on the next panel. we will all the record open until the close of business on friday if you can respond to questions that may come your way in writing. thank you for your service.
>> we are ready for the second panel. most of us had a chance to read it last night or this morning. thank you for being here. i would like to recognize the three witnesses, miranda brown, who has powerful testimony. if you could begin, dr. brown. thank you both for being here. >> good afternoon. i am a former australian diplomat. i joined as the chief of the eastern southern africa section
in december 2012 and occupied this position until 2014. i have experience reporting human rights violations including sexual abuse in a peacekeeping environment. i will give you an insider's perspective. from my experience in the field, i know that sexual abuse in peacekeeping missions is vastly underreported. with bottlenecks for reporting and various stages. there are multiple barriers to reporting sexual abuse. the victims, many of whom are minors, no there is a likelihood the perpetrators will go unpunished and fear discrimination, stigmatization, and retaliation. u.n. human rights officers in peacekeeping missions are
usually first responders and hence the internal reporters of the abuse. they have their own fears about their physical safety as well as their job security. overall, my view is there is significant structural barriers to reporting abuse by peacekeepers and you and personnel. the current set up which relies on humans rights officers assuming the rules as reporters is inadequate, poses risk to the victims, and is inherently biased against reporting. such barriers are exacerbated by the inadequate u.n. internal justice provisions or protections to whistleblowers. an example of these barriers is the case of anders -- who disclosed abuses to french authorities on the basis that the abuse was ongoing and the leadership had not taken any steps to stop it over a period of many months. the abuse continued until two
thousand 14 when he disclose it to the french authorities. in 2015, he was suspended and placed under investigation for his disclosure. shortly after, i blew the whistle to officials in geneva about the sexual abuse in the central african republic and the treatment of him. despite the fact that his suspension was deemed unlawful, a panel is automated and. he remained under investigation until january 2016. these actions are having will continue to have a chilling effect on the reporting of abuses in peacekeeping missions and have badly damaged the reputation his stature of the united nations. why the secretary-general has
not announced measures -- do not address the structural barriers to reporting, nor provide protections for u.n. staff to report wrongdoing by the institution. these measures do not address the u.n. internal accountabilities for abuse authorities -- and that is referred to just to dishonor not being transparent -- they should apply to the human leadership. many of the measures you have her today should apply to the human leadership because 70 percent of the abusers appear to have been committed by nonmilitary -- by unr nonmilitary personnel. i recommend the committee consider the following from the human leadership demand that all victims of sexual abuse by peacekeepers are offered immediate protection that is not currently the case. recognize and address the
barriers and reporting sexual abuse by peacekeepers and personnel. issue systemwide procedures that provide meaningful training to all staff working in peacekeeping missions on reporting sexual abuse by peacekeepers and other personnel. institute mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse of the appropriate authorities. recognize and address the inadequate whistleblower protections afforded to u.n. staff. institute zero-tolerance for all officials whose conduct fails to meet highest standards of ethics and integrity and apologize. from the state department, demand reforms from the u.n., demand zero-tolerance and call for the removal of all senior officials whose conduct feels to me the highest standards. recognize that the staff are not adequately protected from retaliation for reporting sexual abuses by peacekeepers were personnel. seek amendment to the u.n. framework and whistleblower
protections as detailed in my recent statement. implement the provisions of the u.s. consolidated for appropriations at 2016 section 70481 whistleblower protection and ensure that the next secretary-general is committed to eradicating sexual abuse in peacekeeping and is committed to protecting whistleblowers from retaliation. finally i would like to emphasize that my motives for testifying today for blowing the whistle on abuse of authority and sexual abuses to protect the u.n. as an institution and to uphold the principles on which it was founded. this has come as a considerable personal sacrifice -- i lost my job and i remain hopeful that the high commissioner for human rights will reinstate me in my position. i hope that my testimony today will not impact on the high
commissioner's decision. thank you. >> thank you for inviting me. i served as the president of the better world campaign which was to promote a stronger relationship between the u.s. and the united nations. as the previous witnesses have made clear, there is a cancer within the united nations and it must be cut out. the scourge of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers continues. the victims of this abuse are real and the consequences are as well. two weeks ago, a 16 numeral grove was allegedly raped by a peacekeeper from," in the hotel room. what is sickening violation not only of an innocent girl but the trust placed in a peacekeeper by the united nations in the military that sent to help the people of the central african republic. hearing the horrendous reports emanating, it would be natural to want to withdraw all peacekeepers before more damage
can be done. this basic instinct to protect needs to be be balanced against the good the peacekeepers continue to do. the u.n. mission has played a critical role in the conduct of free democratic elections which have led to the swearing in of a legitimate president committed to rebuilding the war-torn country into successful legislative elections which just concluded. peacekeepers have trained nearly 200,000 children on avoidance of of unexploded ordinance a gift , left by the warring factions. as a result, human rights laws issued a report which indicated that the human peacekeepers will be critical to disarming rebel factions in reestablishing security. the question is, how do we support the vital work being done there? and at the same time employee meaningful steps to ensure justice for victims?
if the u.n. are to root out the bad actors with a veil from france, or the developing world militaries that are the backbone of you and peacekeeping, he must show the new policies just announced by the u.n. and endurance by the security council will be implanted with unshakable resolve. the name and shame list issued by the secretary-general of countries charged with exploit -- sexual this petition in abuses ground breaking for the first time in the history of you and peacekeeping transparency is now at long last the corner of the un's response. secretary-general has suspended him payments to troop contributing countries whenever there is critical allegations against one of its troops. he has repatriated entire military contingents to their home countries where there was evidence of widespread and systemic abuse again a first. so, long overdue these actions of the right course. even so, it even though they are endorsed by the security council, these measures will mean nothing unless they are
actively inconsistently enforced. -- actively and consistently enforced. that will render some countries sending on offending contingence's title the a black eye on the global stage but a lost important compensation to that conjure that a nation. -- to that contributing. and for those countries, whether it is evidence of widespread or systematic -- or systemic sexual exploitation abuse, they should be blocked from joining new missions. the u.s. must say no on deployment until demonstrable progress is made. the secretary-general has the power to do that and he must wield it and the security council must back them up. there are certain to be consequences. one year from now, the security council may choose to intervene in a country facing a crisis with lives in a line international communities already went to the u.n. to quickly deploy peacekeepers. only a few countries will offer treatment of the several will have a checkered human rights record. while there will be justifiable
demands to deploy a robust force, the human must hold firm -- u.n. must hold firm and reject any nation with a record of widespread or systematic abuse. it stands, there is a severe shortage of well-trained troops for a growing number of increasingly complex and dangerous missions. the u.n. is challenged to recruit the best trained and equipped troops. if peacekeeping is ultimately to free itself from the stain of sexual abuse, the responsibility must not sit with the u.n. alone -- other member states need to answer the call. last year's peacekeeping summit resulting in pledges of 40,000 more peacekeepers from a diverse group of countries ensuring these places actually materialize in the troops deployed to hardship -- such as mali will be instrumental in backing up the denial of certain countries over the records of sexualized patient and abuse. that sexual exploitation and abuse.
exploitation and abuse. in conclusion, it is absolutely shameful that it is a high-profile's explanation in a queue's expedition and accuse cases elsewhere to grab the world attention to this crisis and to pull open the curtain to the culture of impunity which exists in the human -- in u.n. peacekeeping. the u.n. and members of the security council are now seized with developing and implementing solutions to this crisis. we have to make it right because we have no other choice. i would be happy to answer any questions you might have. >> thank you for your testimony. if you could briefly, could you share with us why you are at present not employed? >> the reason my contract was not renewed was the act of retaliation because i am the whistleblower. >> you said something that i think we may have missed an opportunity with the last panel to pursue as much as we should. you said that 70% of the pieces actually take place by civilians
that were directly for the united nations. is that correct? >> that is my understanding it will be useful to check with the u.n. on that statistic. if so, i would suggest that all of the measures that are being applied to the troop contributing countries should also apply to the 70% to the u.n. staff as well. >> did you agree with the order of magnitude taking place at the civilian level with direct -- >> there are definitely cases were civilian employees are engaged in sexual exploitation. the 70% figure strikes me as i high, but i look forward to work with you to figure out how that number was determined but i also agree with the doctor's recommendation which is any tools used to investigate the charges of sexualized rotation and abuse involving military personnel should also apply civilian employees.
>> i would think that we spent a lot of time talking about the sovereignty if you will in the countries dealing with the room but the fact is we should spend more time -- we are doing now -- on the civilian side itself. i am looking through the list and i may not be catching every single one that i think i could be. it appears to me that in every single case relative to a civilian that i have access to it the present, here is one with suspension but in almost every case, it is a pending issue. can you share with me why that would be the case and not --? >> i cannot comment on the figure would obviously my suspect is there is a lack of accountability inside the u.n. just as there has been for the troop contributing countries. that does need to be addressed. >> you are out in the field. you were out in the field. what is it at the u.n. that
would cause them with their own employees that were directly for the united nations to tolerate this into not be more forceful in a ensuring that this is not ?appening >> i think that wanted to consider here is that this is a level of attention but is now being paid notably by police and military contributing countries but also by civilians is unprecedented in part because of their into situations coming out. so we as a major contributor to -- may 22 percentage with her to the regular budget of the u.n. and peacekeeping, need to insist that any employee of the u.n. the absolutely subject to the same forms of discipline and dismissal in justice as we are insisting upon intercountry bidding countries. >> if i could, why would that be the case? just naturally, why is it that
the united states needs to apply pressure on the u.n. for the u.n. to want to prosecute people who work for them who are involved in sexual exploitation? i do not get it. >> there are a couple of factors at work. and of which justifies it. which is one factor is that so many of the appointments within the u.n. system are derivative of specific countries wanting to play particular employees and so that creates this member state politics within the u.n. system -- the 193 member states -- that sometimes makes it difficult for member states to want their employees to be punished. that is not an excuse. i think of the dynamic is sometime at work and in a very unhelpful and wrong way. >> and that is the same thing that occurs on the troop site, right yeah go they have member -- right? they have member states who do
not want actions taken against their own military personnel -- >> for sure. in the case of our to contribute countries, it is more specific because they specifically would not contribute troops to you in peacekeeping missions if they do not have total control of the discipline of their troops so if we insist now all discipline cases be adjudicated jointly between the u.n. and the computing countries, then in fact, many nations that are currently the backbone they choose to withdraw. and maybe the price that we have to pay and the security council have to figure out in a more systematic way out of the camera -- systematic way how do we get our countries into peacekeeping that actually can make sure that the peacekeepers carry out their work in an ethical way . perspective, why does this culture exists, and why would the u.n. be reticent to deal with? >> i hate to say it but it reminds be a little bit of child
sexual abuse in the catholic church. i think there is only now been a realization of the problem at the senior levels in the u.n.. there have been coverups. i hope that this is an exposure will result in changes but there needs to be some structural changes particularly in terms of reporting because at the moment, you have multiple conflicts of interest at multiple levels and just collecting the information is problematic. the human rights officers in the field often face pressures on them not to report or for example, they may -- they are having to report in the case of the u.n. staff, they're having to report on colleagues. in the have to report and their supervisors. the structure is not in place -- in place to prevent them from receiving retaliation. most of them are junior staff on short-term contract. they could be not renewed, they could be transferred, there is
no incentive for them to report in a way for them to report under copies. best report on their calling. -- report on their colleagues. there is no protection. following on from that, the internal structures for example the office of internal oversight services lacks independence. there are so many problems in relation to accountability within the u.n.. these problems can be addressed. i think they can be addressed but in a studio recognition first and that is what i am calling for. there must be recognition by the leadership that there are internal problems that have to be fixed, including in relation to obviously these abuses that are being committed by the staff because of protection for the staff to report the abuses. >> my time is up, but, are you telling me that with this report they came out in 2005 which apparently was somewhat of a
-- somewhat shattering -- somewhat earth shattering at the time, are you telling me that leadership at the united nations has just become aware of this problem? >> no. but like the catholic church, it has taken them some time to actually act on it. i hope they are going to act on it. they must do so. >> the other challenge is at the highest levels of the you would known u.n. would have about this even before 2005. the issue of whether u.n. officials knew about sexual exploitation and abuse in or taking action as the ambassador mentioned, there is ongoing dialogue for over a decade between the united nations and troop contribute in countries about ongoing cases of sexual exploitation and abuse but i think it has taken this case to break it open and get this high level of commitment. the other thing to consider
here. un security council for over a decade in both republican and administrations been pushing for increasing complex peacekeeping missions. and as a result, when the u.n. comes back and says, there are not enough peacekeepers in the system, there is a real tension between do we approve larger more complex missions we do not really have enough well-trained soldiers with appropriate command and control to carry out this missions? it is not simply a case of one individual in the u.n. in the whole operation, the security council has been well aware of the situation for over a decade and yet continues to improve larger and more complex missions despite the fact that there are not enough troops in the system. it is complex. >> thank you. >> anything both of you. -- let me thank both of you. dr. brown, i listened to your last comment and i can ensure you that we take the integrity of our hearings pretty seriously so we will very much appreciate you being here and will protect the integrity of our process.
thank you for your participation. i looked at the information provided to us by the united nations from their public website. they show on civilian episode in -- one civilian episode in 2016 and then in 2015, i did some math and they showed 14 which are be about 20%. i don't necessarily believe these are accurate numbers. when you reply that we should ask the united nations, i am not sure we're going to get today the right numbers. i just don't know if that is available to us. but we will try. i just had a conversation with my staff and i agree with the senator corker we will be asking , the first panel additional questions for the record.
dealing with the united nations accountability for particularly civilian issues. there are two parts to the united nations' responsibility. one, how they in fact supervise the activities of the participating countries. what they do with the tcc's to watch their conduct. it is not just a matter of sending them home, it is a matter of making sure that they do not do wrong. that is a supervision responsibility which falls with the united nations. yes, we want to take action against countries that are not responding correctly, but there should be accountability within the united nations itself. secondly, there needs to be certainly responsibility of the united nations to give clear direction to its civilian workforce as to what is expected.
to give them adequate training, but to have adequate supervision, so again, so that conduct is clearly understood and a zero-tolerance is understood. if there are violations, that there is accountability. accountability not only in removing those individuals, but holding them responsible for their actions and that may very well require the united nations to have arrangements with its way that it employs its personnel to make sure that there is accountability for their activities. so i will be asking those types of questions for the first panel in an effort to try to see how we can complete the circle, because i think that you raise a very valid point of, it is fine to say that the tcc's are not doing what they are supposed to be doing, and they should be removed, and i agree with that. but there is also the primary responsibilities with the united nations and those responsible
there with how these missions are deployed, supervised, etc. and how the personnel are expected to behave and making sure that those who are carrying that out are held accountable. so, i guess my point is this. have either one of you seen actions taken to deal with what i just said? is there a clear direction given by the united nations on the civilian personnel? is there clear supervision, clear training, clear ways to get the information on those who are violating, so that they can be removed and held accountable? is there a clear line of responsibility and accountability from the united nations to the civilians that are in these countries in which we have the u.n. missions? mr. yeo: two quick thoughts. first, it is important to note that the secretary general did remove the head of the u.n. mission when these charges first came to light and i think that is the type of accountability that is long overdue and necessary and will hopefully
send a signal to future military and civilian commanders that, when missions that are under their supervision, as you said, they are responsible for making sure that the troops and various contingents are actually performing their duties in a principled way. if they fail to do that, then they need to be dismissed from their job and in the case of the central african republic, that did occur. second of all, in terms of civilian employees, civilian employees that are deployed to all of these missions receive extensive training, human rights training, but as the previous panel indicated, training is not a substitute for appropriate
supervision, so in the case of civilian employees we need to ensure that the people who are at the highest levels of each individual mission are fully responsible for the actions of employees and at the earliest possible moment that allegations are raised, of sexual exploitation, that they are reported to the right authorities in the system and active investigations are taken. in fact, the new immediate response teams that the u.n. has established to make sure this happens within 5-10 days of the actual abuse occuring, evidence of crimes related to sexual exploitation and abuse are preserved, is deployed in the case of both civilian and military employees. so i could not agree more. mr. cardin: we know that historically, within military command, there has always been a challenge and particularly with colleagues reporting misconduct. we have tried to take action to deal with that. on the civilian side, dr. brown,
is there the same type of inherent problems with reporting colleague misconduct? dr. brown: i believe so, yes. and i believe there is the adage, there is a number of other problems. for example, prosecution would require the lifting of immunity of the staff. also, the way the system is currently constructed it would require the u.n.'s office of internal oversight services to investigate. we are talking there about u.n. staff investigating other u.n. staff. there are inherent conflict of interest within the system that will need to be addressed. mr. cardin: so with th immunity, in other words, they are immune from criminal prosecution in the host country? dr. brown: in theory. mr. yeo: i would like to make a it clear that the secretary-general, in writing, has made it quite clear that no u.n. employee who is subject to
sexual exploitation and abuse, if they have diplomatic immunity it will be waived, most civilian employees that are deployed as part of peacekeeping missions actually do not have diplomatic immunity. in either case, the secretary general and the u.n. team has made it clear that diplomatic immunity will not apply. mr. cardin: knowing the countries in which the
peacekeeping missions are situated, the capacity to do with these types of issues are limited. >> what capacity do they build with missions to be able to have the capacity to prosecute those who violate the laws in those countries on sexual exploitation and abuse? that will be an interesting point to see how the united nations is helping the country be able to hold accountable those who violate these laws. mr. yeo: these employees needed to be repatriated to their home countries and subject to prosecution at home. so there needs to be a prosecution either in country, which is often a challenge, or back home. mr. cardin: but if they are civilians, it would be even more complicated. dr. brown: correct, i think so. mr. corker: back to the pressure
you were talking about earlier, where you have these expanded peacekeeping needs that are complex. you have pressure for more of that to occur. i mean, i look at the types of populations, generally speaking, that are being quote, "protected." and, i mean, is there some institutional disrespect for the types of people that these peacekeeping missions are being sent out to protect, is there something there that we need to understand? mr. yeo: i think the disrespect that occurs is between individual soldiers and the disrespect that comes as a result of individual actions they are taking, the crimes they are committing as a peacekeeper. but having visited many different peacekeeping missions
around the world, i am honestly shocked by the willingness of these peacekeepers to serve away from their homes for some time, maybe months, years on end, protecting people they do not even know. and they are doing it at great personal risk when you look at, for instance, those peacekeepers in mali that are battling terrorist elements in mali. there has been dozens of peacekeepers killed there, three french peacekeepers were just killed yesterday. so, it is a complex situation. i think that most peacekeepers are committed to civilian protection. we had a wonderful american who was deployed to south sudan as part of the peacekeeping mission. and the military showed up at the gates, they demanded that he turn over all of the young men in the camp and he absolutely refused. he stood at the gates and he said, you may not come in. and as a result, the people that day were saved.
of course, he from my perspective is a hero. i was in south sudan, there are 200,000 people today living in these camps that largely over we their lives to the fact that we have peacekeepers guarding these camps, trying to do their best to protect the people inside, who would otherwise be killed by other elements in the country. it is very complex. i do not think that there is a culture where they do not want to protect the people that they are supposed to protect. i think that this is a case of individual soldiers doing wrong and they need to be punished for it. mr. corker: let me ask you this, based on what you just said. are we, do you think at this hearing, getting an unbalanced view of this issue? mr. yeo: no, i do not think so at all. i think what is happening in car, what is happening in mali, and what has happened in terms of sexual exploitation and abuse in other countries is absolutely horrific. and it gives the entire concept of u.n. peacekeeping a bad name. this is well-timed, it needed to occur, and most importantly it needs to occur a year from now, two years from now, this is not going to be fixed overnight and
we need to make sure that there is bilateral and multilateral pressure for years to come, so that 10 years from now we are not looking back at this and saying, well, we did this 10 years ago. 10 years from now, peacekeeping needs to be the model for how this is. i know that this is something that jane, who has been appointed by the secretary general and as you know was a former deputy secretary for the department of homeland securities, is looking at. what are the best practices for training and commanding control to make sure the -- how can we borrow from militaries all around the world, including the united states come in to make sure that we can work with the countries that are the backbone of peacekeeping, to improve their performance? it is a long haul and it will require a lot of bilateral and multilateral pressure. mr. corker: let me just ask my question again. the disrespect i was talking about is, you have the hierarchy of the united nations that has these complex missions and needs
more in the way of peacekeepers, yet we are sending out countries that are known to have problems, i'm sorry. where as the senator mentioned, in many places rape is certainly an act of war, it is part of war. i was just in the balkans, it is unbelievable to know and see and understand and meet women who are dealt with their in that way, it was an act of war. part of war. back to the disrespect i am referring to, i am not talking about the soldiers, i am talking about at the u.n. level, is there a sense that there is just so much in the way of need, and these populations him is there -- populations, is there something there that i am missing? mr. yeo: i think there was acceptance of this low-grade, what was viewed at the time as a low-grade problem and that acceptance extended for years on
end, not just by the highest levels of the u.n., but also u.n. states, including the security council. i do not think that that acceptance is there any longer. if you look at what has happened, we actually can see for the first time ever, military units being repatriated. for the first time ever, we have a policy endorsed by the security council saying, no more units may be deployed if they have a track record of systematic abuse, or they refuse to get back to the u.n. in terms of what they have done with discipline, or they refuse to investigate. this is the first time they have done this and this is new. we need to ensure that it is enforced, so that units from the congo are not deployed in future peace keeping missions unless they have fundamentally changed the way that they do business. it has to change and the u.n. is now committed to that, it has
been endorsed by the security council, and i think that acceptance of these practices is over. mr. corker: dr. brown? dr. brown: if i may, i agree entirely with what was said, but i will just add that the u.n. has failed as far as i can see, to accept itself as having a problem. and that is what needs to happen. there needs to be a recognition that itself needs to reform itself. it needs to recognize that it does not have the accountability structures. and most of the measures that are applied to the tcc's must apply to the u.n. and furthermore, the staff that take great risks in reporting the sexual abuse must be protected. we have had a terrible case which has just sent a chilling message through the system, and that must be rectified, otherwise we are going to find
that the staff will something -- simply not report. mr. cardin: well, i want to thank both of our witnesses. this has been very helpful to us, but it really starts with the recognition that sexual exploitation and abuse is not acceptable. and it has to be carried by the top leaders, so it starts with the top leadership at the united nations and it has to be, not as understood by everyone in the leadership at the united nations, it needs to be enforced by everybody in the hierarchy of the united nations, so that they understand it is different than it has been in the past. it does not mean that people in the past did not look at it seriously, but the institution did not look at it as serious. and that has to change. but it requires a cultural change. and without that, you will not get the type of action that you want to see. and the action that we want to see is that the member countries that are participating in the united nations understand that it cannot be tolerated, said so that their leadership
impresses upon their participants that this will not be allowed, and that if you are involved, it is going to be very severe. and that you are bringing disrespect to our country's participation and jeopardizing our standing, and we will not allow that to happen. it is not allowed. that is what you are going to have to have for there to be the type of change that we want to see occur. so, yes we have seen some encouraging signs. you mentioned some of those encouraging signs, including the passage of the security council resolution. but, we are far from declaring that that has been accomplished in the culture of the united nations, that is something that is still a matter that many of us are concerned that that message is clearly being broadcast the way it should be. and that is something that we will continue to follow. in the meantime, i expect that we will take additional action in congress. mr. corker: we want to thank you both, it has been a very
powerful hearing. i think that your testimony, and i hope that your testimony, is going to end up affecting people and that hopefully thousands of people who otherwise would have been sexually abused or raped, whatever, will not have that experience because of people like you who have been willing to testify in this manner. i want to build on what you just said. in essence, because the united nations is providing peacekeepers that in some cases, not every case, it are sexually -- case, are sexually abusing people. our citizens here, who work hard every day and raise families, and pay taxes, they are basically sending money, sending their hard earned money to an organization that has been unwilling to deal with a crisis within it. and it taints america, it taints taxpayer money that we are sending. and i hope that somehow, very soon, the leadership of the
united nations will understand that the american people, through their elected representatives, are not going to stand for us sending money to an organization that is unwilling to deal with this moral depravity that is taking place there, but not being willing to own up to a problem and do with it in an appropriate -- deal with it in an appropriate way. we thank you and we appreciate very much your time and travel. the record will remain open to the close of business friday and if you could, respond to questions, my sense is you will want to do that. we thank you again. with that, the meeting is adjourned.
millions of undocumented immigrants to live and work in the u.s. without fear of deportation. arguee led by texas will the injunction should be kept in place because the president overstepped his authority in the programs would pose high costs on their governments. c-span will have coverage at the court as activist show support for and against the president's executive actions. we will have audio of the oral argument on friday. tonight, a look back at president's giving their last speeches at the white house correspondents dinner. >> i've had time to watch the oscars. i was disappointed in that movie the last emperor. i thought it was going to be about don regan. [laughter]
a brande w. bush has speaking -- brand spanking new strategy. he stealing ideas from the other party. i'm so glad he has found work again. >> we will talk with steve toma, past president of the white house correspondents association. for our live coverage of this year's white house correspondents dinner saturday, april 30 on c-span. nina olson is the national taxpayer advocate, an office within the irs that aims to resolve taxpayer problems and improve customer service and testified on capitol hill about
some of the problems facing taxpayers as part of her annual report to congress. this is one hour, 10 minutes. >> the subcommittee on covert operations will come at order and without objection the chairs authorized to declare a recess at any time. i want to thank you both for coming. we have a few other things that are going on so we will have members coming in and out your we are here today to examine the taxpayer advocates 2015 annual report. the taxpayer advocate is a statutorily required, statutorily required to provide report to congress and is also identified 20 of the most serious problems facing the american taxpayer. so i look forward hearing from my friend nina olson, the taxpayer advocate about how to better serve the american taxpayers by overcoming these problems. on a personal note, just say thank you, ms. olson, for coming to western
north carolina to advocate on on behalf of the tax, en route to -- and really to hear the concerns of so many. it was very refreshing, well received and it just shows you're going to extra mile to get that input. i would also like to thank you for your dedication to work come working to protect the american taxpayer. this was on full display when you came to my district for the town hall but it was also interesting to see the other information that was helpful to understand about tax administration. as far as the issues annual report, i'd like to note as we look to spend considerable time discussing the future state plan that is currently being developed by the irs. this plan will lead to a greater electronic tax administration, and online service for the irs. we obviously have a witness here for my home state of, from greensboro, north carolina, to talk of those issues. this is an positive and a
important for the american taxpayer. however, long want to make sure we have the responsibility -- we want to make sure these are done in a safe, secure manner that protects the information and rights of the taxpayer. so i would welcome comments at the taxpayer advocate on this topic, as well as yours, mr. buttonow, the chairman of electronic tax administration advisory committee. your expertise in the area of tax administration will provide a child inside as congress conducts the oversight of the irs future state plan. the taxpayer advocate report also discusses troubling trends, in two important areas, improper payments of the earned income tax credit, the difficulties administering the affordable care act.
that eitc as one of the largest and most important tax credits available to low income and most important tax credits available to low income taxpayers, and the taxpayer advocate reports that note an estimated 27%, that's right, 20 some% of the 65 billion in eitc claims result in improper payments. this is roughly $17.5 billion. and potentially a massive waste. we will look forward to hearing more from the taxpayer advocate about what is being done to reduce the improper payments with regards to the eitc payment program. regarding the aca, the irs has seen massive overpayments by individuals of individual mandate penalty fee. last year approximately 412,000 taxpayers overpay by an average of $123 per return. the irs needs to the taxpayers understand precisely what is there penalty for payments under the aca. the taxpayer advocate also noted that the businesses face a
complicated calculation to establish their obligations to pay the employer share of responsibly payment under the aca. we have heard from constituents in my district as it relates to that complex issue as well. the irs has not issued any clear guidance to help them calculate that payment obligation. furthermore, the taxpayer advocate reports that the irs is poised, who will handle the complex cases lack the specialized training needed to do their job effectively. so in short the aca has imposed a burdensome requirement on the american taxpayer but the irs is not doing enough to help the public understand and comply with the law. i look for to hearing from both of our witnesses today, at want to thank each of you for coming. i one of recognize the ranking member providing an opening statement instead of mr.
connolly. so she is now recognized for her opening statement. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. good morning to you. thank you so much for being here with us. i first want to thank ms. olson, mr. buttonow, for the work they do and for being here today. i sincerely believe that the work that you both do on behalf of taxpayers and congress is vitally important. especially this time of year when millions are filing their taxes and you know, frustrating. i personally, i think i have little stomach extra this time of year. what about you? i care for my constituents and i know ms. olson, here from people all over the country who find themselves this time of year frustrated as stress but i appreciate the
forum's given even holding around the country listening to stakeholders and taxpayers alike so they can learn what their concerns are and how they can look for solutions. that's fantook for solutions. that's fantastic. many of these frustrations temperament a difficult time getting through to a person after i read. whether it's a long wait time for calls or not having a tight answer at all. unfortunately, this less than robust service is not unexpected. when congress slashes the inflation adjusted budget of the irs by $1.2 billion, you do not know what can happen to taxpayers service. the addresses in report stating, the national taxpayer advocate has been recommended against significant reductions in the irs budget because reductions of this magnitude harm taxpayers. because of the budget cuts congress has imposed, the irs
has cut staffing and now has 13,000 fewer full-time permanent employees. because of the budget cuts, irs is i.t. systems are totally obsolete. some of the systems date back, i thought this was a typo what i saw but it says the kennedy administration. these systems are so old that young i.t. professionals and recent college graduates do not know how to work on them. the irs cannot find people who can code in older all the languages that run these systems. this is absolutely unsustainable. the irs has outlined its plan to modernize its i.t. system, create efficiencies through online taxpayer accounts. congress needs to fund this initiative so we can reverse this trend by degrading taxpayers services, because of the cuts we have made. congress approved 290 million in additional funding for fiscal year 2016.
which was a step in the right direction but we need to make strides, not mere steps. online customer service is not a one size fits all solution for the country. that are millions of taxpayers who do not have access to or feel comfortable doing financial transactions online steal. the irs needs to take this into account. understand you have some concerns about this plan and i look forward to hearing from you today, and irs needs to take these concerns into account when looking for. the irs needs to be transparent and to engage with taxpayers and congress as they develop the future state initiatives. you raised in point when you state and i quote, in this apartment of more work and inadequate funding, it is easy to bash the irs. this bashing can produce a mentality that makes aware of sharing things that the public
until they're absolutely finalized. but that means the irs will certainly miss things and get things wrong because it has not engaged the public and bloated proposals publicly before they become set in stone. he also recommend congress to assert our oversight authority and insist the irs comes sooner rather than later to explain the specifics of the future state initiative. you also state and going to quote you again, it is important that these hearings be kept separate from the hearings congress has conducted in recent years over actual or perceived irs shortcomings. letting us see their plans and initiatives ever thoughts on moving forward, not just having hearings about what specifically they are doing. i feel like you're speaking directly to this committee, were you not? i call on my republican colleagues to heed this advice and to bury the hatchet so that we can work together to improve
taxpayers services for all of our constituents. thank you very much. >> i thank the gentlewoman for her comments, and want to follow up just very briefly of that. it's very easy when we start to look at problems in the federal government to paint with a very broad brush, all federal employees. i have had the opportunity miss olson to visit some of employers at the irs. it's part of a longer process we are not going to revisit them here but throughout the country as you and i have discussed. so i want for the record today for all those irs employees to know that the vast majority of them want to serve the american taxpayer not only in a professional manner but in one that is indicative of customer service that would be highlighted in the best of the private sector. so my hat is off to the hundreds of thousands of federal workers
who each day show out. i'm committed in a bipartisan way to make sure that we address the real problems and focus in on fat. and that's the reason for this hearing today. and yet at the same time, applaud those who day in day out show up to work very diligently on behalf of the american taxpayer. so i would like to say the we will hold the record open for five legislative days for any member who would like to submit a written statement. i will now recognize our panel of witnesses. i'm pleased to welcome ms. nina olson, a national taxpayer advocate at the internal revenue service. and mr. james buttonow, chairman of electronic tax administration advisory committee at the internal revenue service. welcome to you both. pursue to committee rules all witnesses will be sworn in before they testify. i would ask you to please rise in racial right hand. and raise your right hand.
thank you. let the record reflect that the witness answered in the affirmative. you may be seated. in order to allow time for discussion, questions, we would ask you limit your oral testimony to five minutes but your written statement will be made part of the record. so i would like to recognize you, ms. olson, for five minutes. olson: chairman meadows, ranking member plaskett, and distinguished members of this subcommittee, thank you for holding today's hearing of the national taxpayer advocates 2015 annual report to congress. in the report identified iran's future state plan as the number one most serious problem for taxpayers, and i will focus on that issue in my testimony today. i will start with a simple but foundational question. what is taxation about? to my mind, taxation involves
taking money from one person and applying that taking to the greater good of many, if not all. that is an extraordinary thing to ask the people. a tax system depends on taxpayers being willing to offer up their hard earned or saved dollars and let the money be applied to everyone or someone else's benefit. so the central question in tax administration is, how do we promote that willingness? what does the tax administrator need to do to maintain and expand taxpayers willingness to pay their taxes? the answers to these questions should try both the current and future state of the irs. taxpayers are experiencing many problems today because the irs lacks adequate resources to assist them. since fiscal year 2010, we estimate the irs is the budget has been reduced by about 19% on an inflation adjusted basis. that is a huge reduction for any organization, particularly one as labor-intensive as the irs. this year congress has given to
iran's an additional 290 million which is very helpful and i'm hopeful congress will continue to provide additional funding in the coming years to ensure our nation taxpayers receive the assistance they deserve. budget constraints have greatly influenced the irs future state plan that envisions how the agency will operate in five years and beyond. eight central component of the plan is to gratian of and -- a central component of and implementation of reliance on online taxpayer accounts. the irs believes online accounts will produce significant cost savings and enable it to substantially reduce its expenditure for telephone and in person assistance. the crux of my disagreement with the irs boils down to whether taxpayers will ultimately use online accounts as a substitute for personal service or whether taxpayers will use online accounts as a supplement to, for personal service. what i've long advocated that the irs offer online account access to taxpayers, i believe the irs is wrong in assuming
online accounts will substantially reduce taxpayer demand for telephone and face-to-face assistance for many reasons including that millions do not have internet access, millions with internet access to enough for comfortable trying to resolve important financial matters over the internet, particularly in the face of massive security breaches on online government systems. and many taxpayers are not cookie-cutter. required a degree of back and forth discussion that is better suited for conversation, at that taxpayers will insist upon, therefore it is critical the irs not develop future plans based on assumed cost savings that may not materialize. the irs likes to say it needs to provide the same type of service to financial institutions provide to their customers. the results of the most recent annual survey conducted by the board of governors of the federal reserve system show that come at a quote, while mobile banking users are utilizing
technological platforms at a high rate and on a consistent basis, they have also maintained connections to their banks through the more traditional branch and atm channel, end quote. yet despite this evidence of consumer behavior in the financial sector, for several years the irs has been reducing face-to-face taxpayer service options and -- at at has decided to to an appointment only system at all of its tax by the end of 2016. attacks which were printed known as walk inside will no longer accept walking taxpayers get and the irsin taxpayers and is conducting a pilot under which it will not even accept tax payments from walking taxpayers. in short the irs of failing to meet the needs that many walking taxpayers for personal assistance. and i find the notion of decline to accept tax payments from walking taxpayers inexplicable
and baffling for a tax collection agency. the results of the appointment only pilot show 20% of the taxpayers had to wait between 13 and 41 days to update an -- obtain an appointment and 5% , had with more than 41 days for an appointment. in my written testimony i described how taxpayers to arrive at up to nine without an of them are being treated i'm also concerned if taxpayers give up and stop going to the tacs because i'm not provide adequate assistance, the irs would use the date of declining usage is to justify further reductions in in person service. for many years and in many areas the irs has made more services more difficult to use, if empowered the declining usage of that service as a basis to cut the service further and to eliminate it entirely. to me, that's disingenuous. i believe the irs much, the future state must adopt as its
north star the needs of the vast majority of taxpayers who were willing to comply with the laws. i used the word willingly to liberally because it includes taxpayers who may not now be in compliance. these are taxpayers who want to comply but for one reason or another are not able to. my point here is that rather than designing tax administration about the small minority of taxpayers who were to liberally debating payment of tax we should decide our rules and procedures to make it easier and clearer for the willing taxpayers to comply. in my opinion, any future state plan will fail unless the irs changes its focus to prioritize taxpayer assistance and does a better job of listening to taxpayers and the representative about what it takes to maintain and enhance voluntary compliance. thank you and i'll be glad to answer any questions. >> thank you, ms. olson.
you are recognized for five minutes. [inaudible] buttonow: thanks to the subcommittee for holding today's hearing on the national taxpayer advocate's 2015 annual report to congress. taxpayer advocate at our office were critical the rights of all taxpayers and the improvement of tax administration. each year the taxpayers best friend nina olson and her team take a productive approach to reducing taxpayer burden while increasing overall voluntary compliance. the irs electronic tax administration advisory committee was formed by law in 1998 to make strategic recommendations to congress on how to improve overall tax administration through electronic means. in short, we are objective outside digital strategy consultants to the irs. in the past few years etaac has been focused on two big
challenges in text message today. first, the proliferation of tax identity theft. and second, the inadequate levels of taxpayer service at the irs cause by an antiquated customer service model. the committee believes the key solution to both of these problems is a more innovative digitally enabled irs. much of this is outlined in the irs future state initiative. to address the urgent problem of tax identity theft, the irs commissioner has will execute a summit which is a coalition of state and industry leaders. etaac up lots of this collaboration within industry, and for the irs working together with this important group to find solutions. authenticating taxpayer identities is absolutely foundational to a digitally enabled irs. the securities of summit is working toward some innovation solutions to this challenge. today i'm going to focus on the future state of taxpayer service at the irs. first let's take a look at where
we are today. for most taxpayers interacting with the irs, it's not quit, it's not easy and it's mostly done by paper and phone. most taxpayers have no idea about their tax information or their status as the irs. when they do it interact with the irs they are often created with long wait times and extended answer periods. these are big problems, especially for the 43% of taxpayers who have to interact with the irs outside of filing a tax return. the irs current state, and to history quite frankly, could leave us feeling quite pessimistic about the near-term possibility of modernizing taxpayer service. but the irs is committed to digitally enabled taxpayer service model with its future state initiative. the irs future state vision aligns with etaac's vision of how taxpayers should be served either tax administrator.
an ideal taxpayer experienced the loss taxpayers to fully understand their tax obligations, have transparent access to their tax information and status to the irs, andion and status to the irs, and allows the taxpayers to effectively and securely interact with a tax administrator in the way that they want to be serve. these are big statements but they are not revolutionary but, in fact, the future state mayors the customer service experience that most financial institutions and many other companies already provide. so what will the future state mean for taxpayers? first, putting transparency when there's hardly any today. taxpayers will get information customized to their circumstances, including the specific tax responsibilities. the future state also means real-time taxpayer service that will allow taxpayers to securely for example, one of those being the employer shared responsibility payment. your report suggested that the irs doesn't know which employees are going to be responsible for evaluating employers so those employees probably will not have adequate training.
we know the irs has many obstacles to overcome. this concludes satisfying all of us that the taxpayer information comes absolutely first. taac, i wouldthe e be happy to take any questions from the subcommittee. >> thank you so much. the chair recognizes the vice chair of the subcommittee, mr. wahlberg for a series of questions. walberg: the three of us here indicates we don't fear the irs. why are we here? i certainly agree with the points you make about the general irs employee attempting to do their job, a difficult job. the first are the irs has to
implement the number of measures that are targeted with the important care act -- affordable care act. theof those being shared responsibility payment. your report suggested that the irs doesn't know which employees are going to be responsible for evaluating employers so those employees probably will not have adequate training. if i understand the report. let me ask you what complexities will the irs employees face in determining which employers must pay the employer shared responsibility payment? >> i think there are a lot of questions about what employees are going to be included in some very complex calculations to determine who is covered, who should be covered, who isn't covered, and that goes to the calculation of whether the employers will be penalized. the penalty is very stiff and
steep. our concern has been we have employers a log of about complexity of the determinations. they have not been able to get answers in the way with the speed that they need to get them. but is a new initiative think this is where transparency and engaging with the population is going to be penalized. it should have happened a long time ago. it needs to happen now, it needs to heed them. what their concerns are. >> do you see any efforts towards that direction? >> i think people are trying. i think it is not as open as i would like. i also think some of it is that the irs is not only involved in this. they're getting information from other areas. the law is very complex and there are lots of government agencies involved. it's getting better but we want to see more engagement. we want to see more guidance even