UN Urges CAR Child-Abuse Probe

UN Urges CAR Child-Abuse ProbeUN Urges CAR Child-Abuse Probe

The United Nations urged countries involved in the child sexual abuse scandal in the Central African Republic (CAR) to beef up efforts to bring those responsible to justice, after a string of reports exposing more atrocities and a suspected UN cover-up.

“It is important to do a thorough review of what happened in the past, but also to drive home the message that there must be no repetition of these dreadful acts now or in the future,” said UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein in a statement issued in Geneva, RT reported.

The sexual atrocities surfaced last month but describe the events taking place between December 2013 and June 2014 at a center for displaced people at M’Poko airport in the CAR capital, Bangui. Besides the French troops’ crimes, allegations of misconduct by peacekeepers from Chad and Equatorial Guinea at the same camp were also reported.

France, which had launched the probe into the matter, has already identified some of the soldiers accused of the abuse. It is still unknown whether authorities in Chad and Equatorial Guinea have followed suit.

“We need to get to the bottom of what precisely was done by whom and when,” Hussein said. “There must be accountability for serious crimes, no matter who commits them.”

The UN has come under fire for failing to take measures to punish the offenders, despite the fact that the implicated troops were not UN peacekeepers at the time of the sexual misconducts.

 UN Cover-Up

A new set of documents, shared by the AIDS-Free World, allege that UN peacekeeping mission made no attempt to stop the ongoing abuse or protect children they had been interviewing. In fact, the world body is suspected of trying to cover the issue up.

According to one of the reports, 23 soldiers from France, Chad and Equatorial Guinea are implicated in the child abuse scandal. The sexual abuse of 13 children was documented in the interviews.

“The documents indicate a total failure of the UN to act on claims of sexual abuse, even when they know that UN involvement might be the surest route to stopping crimes and ensuring justice,” said Paula Donovan, the group’s co-director.

The documents reveal that UNICEF had evidence of abuse but nevertheless failed to act promptly, with sexual exploitation of children continuing after the initial interviews held by the agency in May 2014.

“By agreeing to be interviewed by the UN, the children expected the abuse to stop and the perpetrators to be arrested. When children report sexual abuse, adults must report it to the authorities. A child needs protection and, by definition, does not have the agency to decide whether to press charges. They deserved the protection they assumed they would receive once the UN knew of their abuse,” AIDS-Free World said.