Joint Research Project on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peace Operations

I am happy to announce the launch of a joint research project on prevention and accountability of sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations Peace Operations. The project is funded by LIXIL Humanities Centre, and started on 1 October 2018, and will be completed on 30 September 2019.


Dr. Ai Kihara-Hunt, Associate Professor, the University of Tokyo

Dr. Marsha Henry, Associate Professor, London School of Economics (LSE)

 Project Plan 

1. Subject

Prevention and Accountability of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in United Nations Peace Operations

2. Aim and Objects

This project aims at conducting a comprehensive analysis on the prevention and accountability of sexual crimes committed by UN Peace Operations personnel. This issue has been reported since the 1990s, but the UN has not managed to address it effectively. The results of this project will not only contribute to academia but also to reform of related policies and internal mechanisms in the UN.

3. Project Plan

Dr. Kihara-Hunt has been researching the criminal prosecution of crimes committed by UN Peace Operations personnel. She intends to conduct an additional research into the UN’s internal machinery and the implementation of internal rules, which are currently undergoing major reform. Her scope is also widened to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), which includes misbehavior not amounting to crimes.

Dr. Henry will look into the prevention of SEA from the perspectives of social science and women’s studies. She will analyze the possible factors that contribute to SEA directly and indirectly, and examine how effective the UN and member States’ efforts of prevention is.

By having these two angles, the project aims to conduct a more holistic analysis into the prevention and accountability of SEA committed in UN Peace Operations.

4. Events and Publications

There will be two public seminars in Tokyo, Japan: on 19 April 2019 and 13 September 2019. In September, the researchers are planning to have a round table consultation in New York with stakeholders. Final findings will be published on websites of the researchers.

Related site

Regional International Humanitarian Law Role Play Competition

A few months ago, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Japan Office asked me if I would be interested in sending in a team from the University of Tokyo to compete in the Regional International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Role Play Competition.

After asking around in all the classes I conduct at the University, we managed to form a team of three members to enroll in this competition. They are first and second-year students without international law background. Coaching them also faced the wall of finding a suitable time for all. The last two weeks prior to the competition was intense!

The team has done a tremendous job in obtaining courage and trying to make logic, as well as to play any roles given. Shy members have turned into great speakers, and the team has become a team, not a collection of individuals just on the day of the competition.


And on the day of the competition, 6 October, at UKM in Malaysia, they did it! They won the second prize in the Asian Regional competition. Great to see them eventually gaining courage and enjoying the learning process. Very proud of the team. Good experience for me to be a coach as well.