UN Reveals New Cases of Child Sex Abuse by European Peacekeepers in Africa 

The soldiers continue to betray their mission to protect vulnerable civilians as the number of sexual exploitation cases increases.  

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson Rupert Colville gives a press briefing  Jan. 29, 2016, in Geneva on new claims of child abuse by foreign troops in Africa. 
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson Rupert Colville gives a press briefing Jan. 29, 2016, in Geneva on new claims of child abuse by foreign troops in Africa.  FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations revealed six new alleged child-sex-abuse cases by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, the Associated Press reports.

U.N. officials said at a press conference Friday that five girls and a boy accused European troops of abusing them.

According to a statement from the U.N. human rights office, the youngest victim, a 7-year-old girl, said that she performed “oral sex on French soldiers in exchange for water and a sachet of cookies.”

These latest allegations also involve Georgian troops who are part of the European Union force. A soldier from another European country was also implicated but has not been named because “additional corroboration is needed.”

“It’s hard to imagine the outrage that people working for the United Nations in the causes of peace and security feel when these kinds of allegations come to light,” said U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Anthony Banbury.

The incidents reportedly happened in 2014 at a camp for displaced people but surfaced only recently. In 2015, there were 69 confirmed sexual abuse cases involving U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world. That number includes 22 cases in Central African Republic. In 2014, there were 51 cases.

Rupert Colville, a U.N. spokesman, said that officials cannot estimate how many individual soldiers may have now been involved in sexual abuse in the Central African Republic, but they represent about 10 foreign military contingents.

The United Nations cannot prosecute the soldiers. The individual countries of the accused troops have that authority. Colville said he’s unaware of any convictions.

France deployed its troops to the Central African Republic—its former colony—in 2013 to stem the wave of violence between Christians and Muslims. The European Union and African Union sent peacekeepers there later.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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