The grim history of the sexual abuse scandals of UN peacekeepers
As the United Nations returns 450 Gabonese peacekeepers home from the Central African Republic after new allegations of sexual assault and exploitation, we examine the grim history of abuse that has haunted many UN missions.
Three years ago, Gabon announced it was withdrawing soldiers from the conflict-torn country after similar reports of abuse, only to later reverse its decision.
Most of the abuse allegations have been made against peacekeepers from Cameroon, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, according to the UN.
Before the latest allegations came to light, 1,265 soldiers, police and other personnel had been charged with abuse since 2010.
Complaints peaked in 2016, when almost half of the victims were children.
Since 2017, the UN has published an annual report on allegations of abuse against its personnel and soldiers, with the appointment of a tough-talking US official, Jane Holl Lute, to root out the “shocking problem” “.
Central African Republic
This is far from the first time that one of the world’s poorest and most volatile countries has been the target of abuse scandals.
In March 2018, Gabon announced that it was withdrawing all its troops from the MINUSCA mission in CAR after a new round of complaints of sexual abuse.
But the soldiers stayed.
In 2016 and 2017, more than 700 peacekeepers from the Republic of Congo were recalled for sexual misconduct.
In 2014, French soldiers from Operation Sangaris, a UN-authorized peacekeeping force in CAR, were accused of raping children aged 7 to 13, offering them food for sexual favors.
In 2008, a former French UN mechanic accused of sexual assault against 23 minors during missions in the CAR between 1998 and 2000 was sentenced to nine years in prison.
He was also convicted of the rape of two minors in DR Congo between 2000 and 2004.
An Egyptian soldier was jailed for five years in 2016 for sexual assault while also on the UN mission.
The long-standing UN peacekeeping mission has been repeatedly hit by allegations of sexual abuse, including of minors, since its launch in 1999, when the resource-rich country was torn apart by it. which became the Great African War.
In February 2005, the UN banned sexual relations between its troops and residents.
A few days later, Morocco charged six of its soldiers with sexual violence against minors.
Seven months later, 120 Nigerian police officers were sent home after nearly a dozen were suspected of sexual harassment.
In 2016, an investigation was opened into the behavior of the Tanzanian contingent in North Kivu in the east of the country.
The United States blasted the UN in 2017 for sexual abuse by peacekeepers, citing the example of a sex network allegedly run by Sri Lankan soldiers in Haiti.
Ambassador Nikki Haley said starving teenagers and girls had “gone from soldier to soldier” as the gang rape of a boy was filmed over the phone in 2011.
More than 100 Sri Lankan soldiers have been sent home. None has ever been prosecuted.
In 2011, videos of the rape of a Haitian teenage girl by Uruguayan soldiers were posted on the Internet.
Five of the soldiers were jailed and then Uruguayan President JosÃ© Mujica issued a public apology to Haiti.
Forty-six UN peacekeepers from Ghana were recalled in February 2018 after claiming they sexually exploited refugee women at a UN base there.
A preliminary investigation found that Ghanaian police “engaged in sexual activity with women”.
In 2007, four United Nations peacekeepers from Bangladesh were suspended after charges of sexual exploitation of children in that country.
In September 2011, the UN mission apologized for accusations of sexual exploitation and abuse by its peacekeepers in the West African country.
In 2007, Moroccan soldiers were accused of having had sex with minors, and a year later a 12-year-old girl was reportedly raped by other members of the mission.