The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in CAR, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga, confirmed yesterday that UNICEF staff had interviewed four girls reported to have been abused by peacekeepers. He called on troop-contributing countries to open their own investigations and offered support from the UN Office of Internal Oversight.
“The reports of further allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are deeply disturbing and highlight just how much needs to be done to stamp out this recurrent practice. The investigation is a welcome sign of good intent, but promises of zero-tolerance must be kept, and those responsible brought to justice in fair trials,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa.
“We must not lose sight of the terrible trauma these girls have suffered and their well-being is paramount. Steps must be taken to ensure their right to post-rape health care.”
The latest allegations follow a series of other cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in CAR. An independent panel of experts recently condemned the UN’s response to allegations that French and other peacekeepers had sexually abusing boys in a camp for displaced people in 2014. In August 2015, Amnesty International collected evidence that strongly suggested that a 12 year-old girl had been raped by UN peacekeepers.
In December 2015 an independent panel of experts appointed by the UN condemned the UN’s response.