Sexual abuse cases tarnish image of Africa UN peacekeepers
Reputation of UN peacekeepers deployed in Africa tarnished by sexual scandals over past 11 years

The reputation of UN peacekeepers deployed in Africa has been tarnished by six sexual abuse cases perpetrated by members of UN peacekeeping forces over the past 11 years.

1. Central African Republic, MINUSCA (2013-2015)

Amnesty International accused UN peacekeeping forces of raping a 12-year-old girl and killing a 16-year-old boy and his father during an operation in Bangui in early August.

MINUSCA, the UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic, immediately opened an investigation after the revelations, a UN official in Bangui told Anadolu Agency.

In July last year, a Paris prosecutor opened formal investigations into an earlier raft of allegations that at least 14 French soldiers deployed in CAR had sexually abused Central African children.

MINUSCA has over 12,000 troops from 40 countries. Last month, it dismissed 20 peacekeepers accused of excessive use of force against four people, two of whom died.

2. Liberia, UNMIL (2015)

According to a report by the UN Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) released in June, UN peacekeepers in Liberia were accused of buying sex with money, jewelry, cell phones, televisions and other items from women in Liberia (489 women aged between 18 and 30 according to the UN investigation).

The report said it was a violation of UN rules which "strongly condemn sexual relations" between peacekeepers and the people they protect.

Founded in 2003, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has nearly 5,000 peacekeepers.

3. Mali, MINUSMA (2013)

Soldiers from the Chadian contingent of the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were accused of raping a woman in September 2013.

The mission said in a statement that it was taking the accusations very seriously. MINUSMA rapidly provided medical assistance to the victim.

The victim also formally identified four soldiers among her attackers. They were immediately placed in custody.

MINUSMA then announced the opening of an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by these peacekeepers in Gao, northern Mali.

The UN force in Mali is made up of 10,000 peacekeepers. It was established in 2013 following violence in 2012.

4. Ivory Coast, UNOCI (2010)

In the Ivory Coast, accusations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers occurred twice.

In 2009, Moroccan peacekeepers were convicted of rape, pedophilia and other sexual abuses and were sent back to their country.

In 2010, UNOCI was accused of sexual abuse in the western part of the country. Eight Ivorian young girls admitted to having sex with Beninese soldiers in exchange for food.

"It is up to the country of origin of peacekeepers to take appropriate action against persons involved," UNOCI said.

Established in 2003, UNOCI consists of nearly 8,000 people from 50 countries.

5. Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUC (2009)

The UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo was established as MONUC in 2009 and then later turned into MONUSCO in July 2010.

Between December 2004 and August 2014, over 140 cases of sexual abuse involving peacekeepers were identified.

In 2009, following complaints of victims, 10 cases involving rape and pedophilia were reported.

MONUSCO has a workforce of over 18,000 people.

6. Burundi, ONUB (2004)

Two soldiers from the United Nations Mission in Burundi (ONUB) were suspended in December 2004 following allegations of "sexual misconduct."

Four Ethiopian soldiers were arrested for the same offense.

In 2003, under the leadership of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN decided to be unyielding toward any of its soldiers accused of sexual abuse. But as it has no internal court, it counts on states to prosecute alleged perpetrators.

Although the reputation of peacekeepers has been tarnished, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said several times that the bad behavior of some should not impact the enormous contribution of the largest number of peacekeepers deployed across the world to ensure peace and security.

Nearly 110,000 peacekeepers are engaged in 19 operations worldwide, nearly half of which are in Africa.

Last Modified: 2015-08-17 09:06:02
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