UN probes soldiers for allegedly violating minors
From JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations, Edmond Mulet, said the organisation would punish its peacekeepers if found guilty of sexually abuse using minors.
The threat comes after reports emerged at least 98 girls in Central African Republic reported they were sexually abused by French soldiers and UN peacekeepers.
Most of the allegations relate to French, Burundian and Gabonese contingents and are the latest in a disturbing pattern of sexual abuse that has spanned across peacekeeping missions.
Mulet, also a senior official of the UN on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse said thorough investigations were ongoing.
“Where individuals are found guilty, it requires the imposition of sanctions that are commensurate with the seriousness of the offences committed,” said Mulet.
He said civilian personnel who commit abuses must be similarly held accountable.
“As such, where United Nations personnel are alleged to have committed sexual exploitation and abuse, we will suspend the payment of certain funds due to them,” he added.
Mulet said the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon had asked Member States to agree to this money being transferred to the trust fund in support of victims, if the allegations were substantiated.
“I urge the General Assembly to agree to this proposal,” recommended Mulet.
Ki-moon recently established a trust fund in support of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse with the aim of helping provide them with the medical, psychosocial and legal services they needed.
Mulet said over several years, the UN General Assembly had approved many measures to help address the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse.
“The focus of our efforts remains that of seeking to prevent such abuses; to respond quickly and effectively to allegations that come to light; to protect and support victims; and to demand zero impunity – recognizing that in the case of uniformed personnel, accountability is a shared responsibility requiring action by Member States.”
– CAJ News
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