The reputation of United Nations peacekeepers has suffered another humiliating blow. Fresh allegations of rape by blue-helmeted U.N. troops have surfaced with one of the victims reportedly underage.
A U.N. spokesman, Vannina Maestracci, said the alleged events, involving three girls or young women, took place in recent weeks in the Central African Republic (CAR) and that the victims’ families had notified the mission on August 12. One of the alleged victims is said to be a minor.
Maestracci declined to give the nationality of the troops involved, but sources quoted by Euro News said they were from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The contingent was serving in the town of Bambari, north-east of Bangui.
Including the three new accusations, there have been 14 allegations of possible sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. peacekeepers in the CAR since the United Nations established the force there in April 2014. Similar allegations were made against French peacekeepers who arrived in the country a year before the U.N. force.
Last week the CAR’s head of mission was removed from his position after a series of allegations of sexual abuse and excessive use of force by peacekeepers.
After the dismissal became public, U.N. secretary general Ban Ki Moon spoke directly to members of the Security Council about deeply “troubling cases concerning United Nations troops in the Central African Republic.” He didn’t mention the words rape or children but the U.N. has been down this road of confession and vowing to act too many times before.
Breitbart News has already reported on the culture of sexual abuse seemingly ingrained in U.N. troops as they are posted to trouble spots around the world. Many of those incidents perpetrated against children by peacekeepers go unreported, the U.N. has acknowledged.
In 2005 the embarrassment caused by the misconduct of UN peacekeepers in devastated communities around the world – including Haiti, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Cambodia, East Timor and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – became a high profile, political problem.
The Guardian reported allegations that troops sent to police Liberia were regularly having sex with girls aged as young as 12, sometimes in the mission’s administrative buildings.
In the DRC, peacekeepers were said to have offered abandoned orphans small gifts – as little as two eggs from their rations, says the report – for sexual encounters.
Used condoms, an inquiry by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services discovered, littered the perimeter of military camps and guard posts.
In 2006 Secretary General Kofi Annan pledged to do something about it. He said the U.N. was working on a binding treaty addressing the prosecution of sexual abuse committed by peacekeepers. Alas, on the evidence, nothing changed.
In 2011 video emerged showing showing four men, identified as Uruguayan troops from the U.N. mission in Haiti (Minustah), seemingly in the act of raping an 18-year-old Haitian youth. The alleged assailants were never charged or publicly identified much less censured. Now it has happened again.