This project proposes an in-depth-study on the challenges and life courses of peace babies conceived by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
From its early days, MINUSTAH has been associated with allegations of sexual abuse and an unintended legacy of children fathered by UN personnel. The UN has recently acknowledged that peacekeeper babies exist. However, there is currently no reliable data about the welfare of children fathered by UN peacekeepers (globally or in Haiti), and it is clear that the very few UN policies and support programmes that exist are woefully inadequate.
Cite Soleil UN Base, Haiti
This multidisciplinary collaboration will address three specific objectives: i) Interdisciplinary research to create knowledge on life courses of peace babies and their mothers in Haiti with a view of identifying key determinants of positive and negative outcomes in terms of social, economic, and psychological well-being, ii) Advance policy and programming around the issue of peace babies by providing empirical data about their needs and experiences to the UN, to the militaries of troop contributing countries and to the governments of host countries, and iii) Improve the integration of peace babies into Haitian society by disseminating research results to the Haitian government, non-governmental aid organizations, human and women’s rights civil society organizations and to the general public, in order to effect change.
The proposed study addresses this critical knowledge gap by:
Exploring the gender norms and socioeconomic, cultural and security circumstances that contribute to unequal power relations between UN personnel (military plus non-military) and local civilians;
Investigating the life experiences of women raising children fathered by peacekeepers and life experiences of the peace babies themselves; and
Analysing the lack of accountability of the UN and its personnel for children fathered by UN personnel by scrutinizing the legal frameworks governing this accountability.
Joint KOFAVIV / Queen’s University training in Port-au-Prince in October 2017 in preparation for the qualitative data collection
Team training before SenseMaker data collection in June 2017. Held at the former ETS campus with participants from KOFAVIV, ETS, University of Birmingham, and Queen’s University
KOFAVIV team members practising the SenseMaker survey, Port-au-Prince June 2017
In Haiti, 10 UN bases across seven locations were purposively chosen for data collection based on size, years of operation, troop contributing countries staffing the base, geographic variation within Haiti as well as urban / rural designation.