Côte d’Ivoire: Committee on the Rights of the Child concerned with child sexual abuse in CAR

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (PANA) – The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on Wednesday expressed huge concerns about the situation of children in Central African Republic who are at the centre of allegations of sexual abuse committed by French and other foreign troops, says a communiqué received by PANA in Abidjan.  

The chairman of the commission, Benyam Dawit Mezmur, said the rights and well-being of those children must be the a priority for everybody.

"Those children must be protected against the abuses, against all forms of attacks and against all forms of media coverage that pose risks to them while waiting for the results from the ongoing investigations," said Mr Mezmur.

In another development, the CRC has congratulated France for opening investigation into the case.

It said it was waiting with interest to see the quick conclusion of the investigations.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday appointed a panel to investigate the response of the UN to allegations of sexual abuse surrounding a deployment of foreign military forces in the Central African Republic (CAR).

The statement made available to PANA in New York, stated that the UN chief remained "deeply concerned" by the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of children committed by foreign military forces not under UN command, as well as UN's own response to the allegations.

The three-member panel, which will comprise Marie Deschamps of Canada, Hassan Bubacar Jallow of Gambia, and Yasmin Louise Sooka of South Africa, will aim to review both the allegations and the UN response and any shortcomings in existing procedures covering serious crimes by the UN and related personnel, host State forces and non-State actors that it may become aware of during its review.

The panel will also conduct its work independently and will receive unrestricted access to all UN records and full access to staff members and other UN personnel.

Mr Mezmur said: "We don’t want to prejudge the results from the investigations. As Committee on children’s rights, our main concern is, first, that reliable and clear procedures are established and followed up to prevent any child abuse.

"This includes situations of foreign troops in a country, whether as UN peacekeeping soldiers or as in this case about troops acting independently. And secondly, when such acts occur, priority should be given to the protection of victims, the indictment of perpetrators and compensations for children."
-0- PANA BAL/BEH/MSA/MA 24June2015

24 june 2015 21:17:53

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