69 U.N. Peacekeepers Accused Of Sexual Abuse


A new report says there were 99 allegations of sexual exploitation or abuse made about United Nations staff in 2015, and 69 of those allegations involved peacekeepers.

The peacekeepers, military and police personnel,  hailed from countries such as Burundi, Germany, Ghana, Senegal, Madagascar, Rwanda, Congo Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Tanzania, Slovakia, Niger, Moldova, Togo, South Africa, Morocco, Benin, Nigeria and Gabon, according to the Reuters.

The report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is part of the organization's new "name and shame" policy. However, the report did not mention the nationalities of the other 30 U.N. staff (non-peacekeepers) who were also accused.

Peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who were on missions in the Central African Republic had the most allegations of sexual abuse.

The U.N. report calls for countries to identify and prosecute the suspects, and to create a DNA registry of peacekeepers.

U.N. officials learned at least four peacekeepers allegedly paid girls as young as 13 for sex at the M’poko camp in Bangui, Central African Republic, The Washington Post reported on Jan. 11.

According to U.N. officials, these particular peacekeepers came from Gabon, Morocco, Burundi and France. One U.N. official, who chose to be anonymous, said boys and young men pimped out the girls “for anywhere from 50 cents to three dollars."

“M’poko is a lawless zone run by anti-balaka thugs a few hundred meters away from the international airport," Lewis Mudge, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, told The Washington Post.

The M’poko camp is a collection of white tents serving as homes for 20,000 displaced people, most of them Christians.

"The camp is not being protected, and women are being raped," Mudge added.

According to human rights groups, countries do not often prosecute their own soldiers for sex crimes committed as U.N peacekeepers, or if there are prosecutions, then they are hard to track.

U.N. officials believe prosecution of these sexual offenders would not be welcomed by troop-contributing countries, but want to pursue the idea.

Sources: Reuters, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Sudan Envoy/Flickr

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