U.N. Sex Abuse Scandal in Central African Republic Hits Rock Bottom

BANGUI, Central African Republic — A French commander tied up four girls and forced them to have sex with a dog. A Congolese peacekeeper raped a 16-year-old in a hotel room. And soldiers from France, Gabon, and Burundi sexually abused at least 108 women and children in a single province between 2013 and 2015. These are just some of the latest allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by international forces in the Central African Republic (CAR), where the U.N. mission has been roundly condemned for praying on the very citizens it was sent there to protect.

U.N. Sex Abuse Scandal in Central African Republic Hits Rock Bottom

These most recent allegations, first reported on March 30 by the advocacy group AIDS-Free World, stem from leaked correspondence with U.N. investigators. The awful details represent a new low for the United Nations — but also, perhaps, a turning point. After a litany of scandals, the U.N. is now finally taking concrete actions to curb peacekeeper abuse. But critics say it isn’t going nearly far enough.

The U.N. mission in the Central African Republic, known by its French acronym MINUSCA, replaced a beleaguered African Union force in 2014 with a mandate to protect civilians in that country at a time of spiraling sectarian violence and to support a fragile political transition. Since then, it has been implicated in dozens of cases of sexual abuse, including 25 separate allegations lodged in just the first three months of 2016. The mission’s botched handling of these cases, together with earlier allegations of pedophilia by French forces stationed in the capital, Bangui, was later deemed a “gross institutional failure” by a panel of independent experts that excoriated high-ranking officials for deliberately obstructing investigators. In August of last year, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took the unprecedented step of sacking his special representative in CAR, Babacar Gaye.

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One thought on “U.N. Sex Abuse Scandal in Central African Republic Hits Rock Bottom”

  1. Reblogged this on socialdissonance and commented:

    So now, we have the bizarre situation where they have to create a police force to police the police, or ‘peacekeepers’.

    //To date, more than 150 accusations of sexual misconduct, including rape and sexual assault, have been lodged against international forces in CAR, although MINUSCA says it is still assessing whether the latest 108 are credible.
    (Forty-five cases of alleged abuse have been credibly linked to MINUSCA personnel so far.)
    As the list of official embarrassments has mounted, the United Nations has scrambled to put in place measures to curb peacekeeper abuse, such as expelling troops accused of misconduct and limiting the amount of contact off-duty peacekeepers have with the civilian population.
    And in the wake of the shocking new allegations last week, it has proposed setting up in situ military courts and requiring pre-deployment DNA tests for peacekeepers, both of which would require the consent of troop-contributing countries.//

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