UN: Amnesty Int'l welcomes UN decision to probe fresh sexual abuse in CAR

New York, US (PANA) - Amnesty International (AI) on Wednesday welcomed UN’s decision to investigate new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR), and stressed the need for further reform and for perpetrators to be brought to justice.

A statement from Amnesty, made available to PANA in New York, stated that the UN Special Representative in CAR, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga, confirmed that UNICEF staff had interviewed four girls reported to have been abused by peacekeepers.

It said that Mr. Onanga-Anyanga called on troop-contributing countries to open their own investigations and offered support from the UN Office of Internal Oversight at the UN headquarters in New York.

It quoted Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa, as saying: "The reports of further allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are deeply disturbing and highlight just how much needs to be done to stamp out this recurrent practice."

"The investigation is a welcome sign of good intent, but promises of zero-tolerance must be kept, and those responsible brought to justice in fair trials.

"We must not lose sight of the terrible trauma these girls have suffered and their well-being is paramount. Steps must be taken to ensure their right to post-rape health care," he said.

He noted that the latest allegations followed a series of other cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in CAR.

An independent panel of experts recently condemned the UN’s response to allegations that French and other peacekeepers had sexually abused boys in a camp for displaced people in 2014.

In August 2015, Amnesty International collected evidence that strongly suggested that a 12-year-old girl had been raped by UN peacekeepers.

In December 2015, an independent panel of experts appointed by the UN condemned the UN’s response.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 6Jan2016

06 january 2016 15:39:16

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