Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sexual assault in Afghanistan: the bystander's duty

The Canadian Forces have released the report of an investigation into allegations that Canadian personnel were aware of cases of sexual abuse by Afghan National Security Forces personnel. Click here for a link to the report and summary. The conclusion:
1.15 Based on the major findings, the Board has concluded that no Commander ever ordered troops under their command to ignore sexual assault by ANSF. As well, the CF leadership had an expectation that CF members would act if they witnessed such acts of abuse. The Board has found that at the time this abuse was first suspected, the CF was engaged in a very difficult and dynamic operation, involving significant loss of life and injuries, and that the number of serious issues requiring simultaneous resolution was high. 
1.16 At the same time, the Board finds that within the CF contingent deployed in Afghanistan, sufficient information existed as early as 2006 to warrant action on the possible sexual abuse of minors by the ANSF. Where reporting and direct action occurred, the actions taken were correct, but because reporting never reached either the Commanders or principal staff at either JTF-Afg or CEFCOM, no specific and permanent CF action was ever taken. The principal reason for this is that there were numerous communication failures within the mid-level chain of command; specifically in the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kandahar, ITF-Afg LEGAD, CEFCOM LEGAD and by a member of the Land Staff. 
1.17 The BOI therefore concludes that although the CF had the opportunity to address this issue as early as the fall of 2006, concrete action only began after the CF chain of command became aware of the incidents through media reporting in June 2008.

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