Thursday, November 12, 2015

More allegations about peacekeepers to be investigated

Reuters reports here that additional allegations concerning sexual abuse of minors by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic have surfaced. Excerpt:
United Nation’s peacekeepers in Central African Republic were hit on Wednesday with fresh accusations of sex abuses uncovered by a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation amid growing concern about a failure to combat sexual misconduct. 
Three teenage girls displaced from their homes by fighting in the strife-torn country told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that they had sex with Congolese peacekeepers over several weeks, resulting in at least two pregnancies.
The girls, aged between 14 and 17, live in temporary straw shelters in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) close to where over 500 U.N. peacekeepers, mainly from Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh and Cameroon are posted. 
The minimum age of sexual consent in Central African Republic is 18. Sexual relations between peacekeepers and civilians are banned under U.N. protocol. 
The accusations are the latest in a series of allegations against the 11,000-strong force known as MINUSCA, which has been operational in the country since April 2014. 
The peacekeeping force, whose mandate refers to “specific protection for women and children,” became mired in a series of sex abuse scandals earlier this year with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon vowing to crackdown on sexual abuse. . . .
In April this year it was revealed that soldiers from Democratic Republic of Congo and other contributing countries, including Equatorial Guinea and Chad, together with French forces, had assaulted several children over a six month period.

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