Regarding the March 21 article, "All-female unit keeps peace in Liberia": The article highlights the trailblazing deployment by the United Nations of an all-women police unit, inspiring Liberian women to join the police force and helping redress the gender imbalance among peacekeepers worldwide.
However, the article erroneously quoted the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as having stated that there were 30 reported cases of rape by UN personnel in the country in 2006, down from 45 in 2005. In 2006, 30 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse were reported, with two cases related to sexual assault and rape.
The decrease in the number of allegations indicates that the preventive measures taken by the mission are bearing fruit. These measures included a compulsory course for all staff about sexual exploitation and abuse.
UNMIL has also involved the Liberian government, nongovernmental organizations, and local community to raise awareness. Places known for prostitution or drugs have been declared off limits to UN personnel in Liberia. UNMIL has established a hot line to encourage people to confidentially report any allegations or complaints of sexual exploitation and abuse by its personnel.
UNMIL continues to take all allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel very seriously and will work with the government of Liberia and other partners to eradicate this abomination.
Special representative of the secretary-general and coordinator of United Nations operations in Liberia
In response to the March 23 Opinion piece, "Teach the Bible in public schools," by Stephen Prothero: A Bible class in the hands of many teachers – such as evangelical Christians or conservative Catholics – would probably become a vehicle by which to proselytize students.