Sex abuse by UN peacekeepers in Congo
29 abril, 2016
New cases of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers on civilians in Congo have arisen this month, adding to the existing 25 cases reported in 2016, and 99 cases of 2015.
Allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct of UN peacekeepers is not a new story. Just last month, the government of Congo launched investigations on reported accusations of sexual abuse of UN peacekeepers in Congo. Eleven cases had involved members of Tanzanian units that left Congo last July. However, a further seven more cases in Congo’s capital Kinshasa is adding to the 99 reports of sexual abuses in 2015 and the 25 allegations of this year.
The head of the U.N. mission in Congo, Maman Sidikou, stated that five allegations involve Tanzanian soldiers who arrived last September, one involving a South African and the seventh case involves forces from Malawi. Adding that in “All of these cases are presumed cases of either pregnancy or of paternity. Eight of the victims were minors.”
Last month UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon welcomed the Security Council to combat the issue. The situation is not one that the UN takes lightly. “The blue beret or the blue helmet you wear represents hope for the vulnerable population of the Central African Republic,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Parfait Onanga-Anyanga said in a press release earlier this year
Last autumn , in reference to the cases in the Central African Republic , Ban Ki Moon called the situation a “cancer in our system”. As The Guardian covered it last year, the internal bodies of the UN were embarrassed and furious. US ambassador Samantha Power have told reporters of “a sense of collective failure” within the UN system.
Al Jazeera reported last month that the UN adopted a new resolution to prevent such cases, calling the resolution “first-of-its-kind”. This resolution allows UN to forcefully return officials from peacekeeping missions and it allows the Secretary General to replace officials in cases of poor investigation or cases where perpetrators aren’t met with justice. The Secretary General should also be informed of any such case.
“Today is a step in the right direction,” said Amnesty International’s crisis response director Tirana Hassan about the new UN resolution, “but it will still require significant reform throughout the UN system”
Thus , in summary of the situation , it is clear in saying that the accusations of sexual abuse are a recurring matter in several countries within the Central African Republic, and is a major cause for concern. The actions of the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon will be vital in resolving the situation as he has pledged to ensure protection and support to these victims as well as the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on the matter last march.