UN: UN chief vows 'decisive action' on allegations of sexual abuse in CAR

New York, US (PANA) - Vowing decisive action on reports of sexual exploitation committed by
UN peacekeepers deployed to Central African Republic (CAR), UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon announced Thursday that he has accepted the resignation of the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

Ban also said that he will schedule a special session of the UN Security Council on the matter,
and pledged the UN's commitment to bringing any and all perpetrators of such abuse to justice.

"I cannot put into words how anguished, angered and ashamed I am by recurrent reports over
the years of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN forces," said the UN chief, while addressing
reporters in New York, where he deplored the disturbing number of abuse allegations and
affirmed that the "systemic challenge" of sexual abuse demanded "a systemic response"
by the UN.

"When the United Nations deploys peacekeepers, we do so to protect the world’s
most vulnerable people in the world’s most desperate places, I will not tolerate any action
that causes people to replace trust with fear," Ban stated.

The secretary-general urged victims to come forward and report any and all abuses to the
UN, "as the organization moves forward in doing all we can to respond to these outrageous

"As part of the UN’s increased scrutiny into the global scourge of sexual abuse in field
missions," Ban said that he has requested a special session of the Security Council,
to take place on Friday, and will convene a video conference with UN Special Representatives,
Force Commanders and Police Commissioners in all peacekeeping operations to be held
on Friday.

In addition, he announced the immediate resignation of UN Special Representative
Babacar Gaye as head of MINUSCA.

"Mr. Gaye has tendered his resignation at my request on Wednesday," the UN chief
explained in response to a question from reporters, adding that, "while this may appear
to be very strong action for a Special representative who has been working so honourably
during many years in the UN system, I really wanted to show a strong example and
message to all the international community.

"I will reiterate that leaders must report allegations immediately, investigate thoroughly
and act decisively. Failure to do so will have clear consequences.

"I want victims to know that we will strive to uphold our institutional responsibility to safeguard their security and dignity," he emphasized.

Deployed in early 2014, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the
CAR, known by the French acronym MINUSCA, is currently aiming to defuse sectarian
tensions across the country.

More than two years of civil war and violence have displaced thousands of people amid
ongoing clashes between the mainly Muslim Seleka alliance and anti-Balaka militia,
which are mostly Christian. In addition, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) continues to
operate in the southeastern part of the country.

The situation of deep instability is further exacerbated by a growing humanitarian crisis.

The UN estimates that some 450,000 people remain displaced inside the country while
thousands of others have sought asylum across the borders.

Meanwhile, overall some 2.7 million people in the CAR remain in direct need of urgent
humanitarian assistance.
-0-   PANA   AA/AR  13August2015

13 august 2015 16:32:22

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