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SLST Speaker Series – Accountability and support for peacekeeper-fathered children in the DR Congo

Heather Tasker and Annie Bunting

Monday, January 16, 2023 from 2:30 – 4 pm | S 701 Ross (light refreshments will be served)


Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) hosts the longest running and largest United Nations peacekeeping mission in history. The United Nations also has reckoned with peacekeeper-perpetrated sexual exploitation and abuse within United Nations (UN) missions and, in 2003, recognized its importance with a Bulletin, which became known as the ‘zero tolerance policy’. Policymakers and researchers have paid little sustained attention, however, to children fathered by peacekeepers (PKFC). In this article, we share the results of our mixed-methods SenseMaker® research with community members who interact with peacekeeping personnel and interviews with 58 women who are raising children fathered by peacekeepers. Despite the UN having policies in place, most women did not report PKFC and did not receive systematic support. The analysis reveals a large gap between the aspirations of the ‘zero tolerance policy’ and its operationalization in the DRC. We argue that there is a lack of enforcement of the UN policies, jurisdictional complexity, and inaccessible justice, as well as significant gaps between the UN’s approach to investigating and supporting PKFC and the expectations of mothers.



Heather Tasker is a researcher and doctoral candidate in Socio-Legal Studies at York University. Her research focuses on sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict contexts, access to justice, and feminist conceptions of harm. Heather has also conducted collaborative research on women’s experiences of forced marriage in war and their subsequent justice needs; unrealized rights of children born of sexual violence in war; and intersections between conflict-related gendered violence and Covid-19 related adversity in Liberia.

Annie Bunting is Professor of Law & Society at York, teaching in the areas of social justice and human rights. Her research expertise includes socio-legal studies of marriage and childhoods, feminist international law, and culture, religion, and law. Her recent edited collections include: Marriage by Force? Contestation over Consent and Coercion in Africa (with Lawrance and Roberts) Ohio University Press (2016); and Contemporary Slavery: Popular Rhetoric and Political Practice (with Joel Quirk), UBC Press, Law & Society Series (2017).

This Socio-Legal Speaker Series event will be held at:

S 701 Ross

You can also attend remotely via Zoom:

We hope you can join us!



Jan 16 2023


2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

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