Research on Peacekeeper-Fathered Children in Haiti
In November 2016, CHIBOW network coordinator Sabine Lee and CHIBOW partner Susan Bartels (Queen’s University Kingston and HHI) were awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council network grant for work on ‘Peace babies' - the unintended consequences of United Nations peacekeeping (AH/P006175/1) and a linked research grant under the PaCCS (Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research) scheme for a project on Peacekeeper Fathered Children in Haiti (AH/P008038/1).
To initiate this project, Susan Bartels (pictured right) hosted a two-day workshop on February 6th and 7th, 2017 at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, with the purpose of facilitating open interdisciplinary dialogue about 'peace babies', with a view to identifying research priorities, a dissemination strategy and preparing researchers in data collection methods.
Day one of the meeting dealt with the historical, political, psychosocial, and legal frameworks of the project. After introductory presentations of the historical contextualization by Sabine Lee (pictured left) and an introduction to the SenseMaker methodology by Susan Bartels, the second part of the morning was devoted to the psychosocial framework with Athena Kolbe and Marie Kolbe from ETS summarising findings relating to Peace Babies in Haiti and suggesting best practice for research with Peace Babies, before CHIBOW director of Training, Heide Glaesmer (pictured below) presented a psychosocial framework for research with and on Children Born of War.
The two afternoon sessions focused on the legal framework with Mario Joseph from Bureau des Avocats Internationaux explaining the difficulties of holding to account MINUSTAH soldiers with regard to peace babies and with Gladys Thermezi introducing the challenges regarding the human rights of peace babies and their mothers in the Haitian legal context. Sienna Merope-Synge from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti then analysed the current legal framework of the UN with respect to responding to sexual exploitation and abuse and children fathered by peacekeepers with particular emphasis on its impact on impunity and lack of accountability.
In a second session, the emphasis shifted to the impact of sexual violence and abuse perpetrated by peacekeepers, when Stéphanie Etienne from the Commission of Women Victims for Victims (KOFAVIV) explained the work of her NGO which provided support for female victims of SEA.
Linking up the perspective of the host countries of Peace Support Operations with that of the troop contributing countries Stéphanie Bélanger discussed research on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse from a perspective of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research. This theme was elaborated on further on Day Two of the workshop, when Chris Nobrega (pictured above) from the Peace Support Training Centre of Canadian Armed Forces introduced the work of the Centre and Stéfanie von Hlatky (pictured right) (Centre for International and Defence Policy, Queen’s University) discussed Gender in the Military from a broader perspective both within peacekeeping and beyond.
The presentations provided the basis on which academic and non-academic colleagues went on to discuss the research agenda for the fieldwork to be carried out in Haiti in June 2017. The specific task that was being addressed was the creation of a Sensemaker survey with which the experiences of Peacekeeper-fathered children will be investigated.