UN: 'UN mission in CAR determined to stamp out sexual exploitation by peacekeepers'

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central
African Republic (MINUSCA) has condemned all cases of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by its personnel, noting that "it is determined to stamp out this extremely seriously problem."

UN Deputy Special Representative in CAR, Ms. Diane Corner, who spoke with UN reporters in
New York via video-conference on Friday, said: "It is a blight on the mission and on the extremely good work that the overwhelming majority of MINUSCA personnel are doing."

"We are determined to solve this problem, and ensure that the UN Mission fulfills its mandate,
serves the people of the Central African Republic (CAR), and that includes in particular the
victims of these types of abuses," she said.

She told reporters that 13 cases of sexual abuse allegedly involving uniformed personnel of MINUSCA have been recorded since the re-hatting of the mission on 15 September 2014,
saying: "Of these cases, 9 involve alleged attacks on minors."

"The sharp rise in cases reported in the last 3 months is of concern. However, I believe that
this is at least in part due to the rollout across CAR of MINUSCA’s network of field offices,"
the UN envoy explained, adding that 11 of those offices cover all regions of the country, are staffed by political, civil affairs, human rights, child and women protection officers, to whom such cases can be reported.

"Some of the sexual exploitation cases have been reported to the mission by local journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and in some cases the families involved.

"This shows a level of trust on the part of the population in MINUSCA personnel. We are
seeking to do all we can to build this level of trust, by providing an account of our actions,"
she stressed.

She also said that the mission’s response to these reports has been to establish quickly
whether the allegations are credible, and then to look after the welfare of the victims, who
receive medical and psycho-social care.

"In cases involving MINUSCA’s troops, it is the responsibility of the troop contributing countries to investigate, while the Mission must preserve the evidence, which provides the basis for convictions, punishment to the perpetrators," Ms. Corner noted.

She also said: "In all cases involving troops serving with a UN peacekeeping operation, the UN has to depend on these countries and their justice system to deliver accountability", noting that on Thursday, the Minister of Justice of the Democratic Republic of Congo gave instructions to the military prosecutor to take action on the dossier presented by the UN.

"Devoting significant efforts to prevention, MINUSCA is making sure that its troops undergo training, including on sexual exploitation and abuse, prior to their deployment in country, and once on the field. Certain designated locations are out of bounds, and curfews apply to both civilian and military personnel.

"Protection of civilians is the first priority of our mandate, and we take this task extremely seriously," she concluded.

PANA recalled that the allegations came on the heels of a case reported on 11 August by the human rights group Amnesty International, involving MINUSCA peacekeepers.

The day after the incident was revealed, MINUSCA chief Gen. Babacar Gaye, resigned at the request of the UN Secretary-General.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 21Aug2015

21 august 2015 14:05:57




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