UN: UN envoy says no more silence on sexual abuses in CAR

New York, US (PANA) - Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the UN envoy in Central African Republic
(CAR), says the days of silence on issues related to sexual exploitation and abuse by UN
peacekeepers are over.

Mr. Onanga-Anyanga, who was appointed last August as the UN Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) after his predecessor resigned amid allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against peacekeepers under his command, made this known in an interview with PANA in New York on Thursday.

He stated: "In 2015, 22 of the 69 cases against peacekeepers serving under the UN flag took place in the CAR, and fresh allegations have surfaced in 2016. While the UN is taking new measures to protect from these crimes, including through a recent UN Security Council resolution."

He noted that the abuses were "appalling and unacceptable, and anyone working under the blue flag could be seen not as a protector but as a predator."

The envoy also stressed the need for the troop contributing countries to comply with measures being put in place by the UN Secretary-General to ensure zero tolerance on sexual exploitation and abuse and also prosecute any peacekeeper that was involved in abuses.

Mr. Onanga-Anyanga also welcomed the final results of the second round of the Presidential elections in the CAR, and congratulated President-elect Faustin-Archange Touadéra.

He said: "The election of this new president gives new hope that maybe everything the United Nations has done so far is going in the right direction", noting that the UN most significant challenge in the country is to protect civilian populations and ensure that an inclusive political process can pave the way towards lasting stability.

"We need to ensure that anything that we do will be really helping this country to leapfrog from the chaos and horrors of the past to a new situation whereby there will be more unity, more reconciliation and more eagerness from all parts to build a better future for the Central Africans," he stressed.

Mr. Onanga-Anyanga also thanked Central Africans for their support to the UN mission and contributions to peace and development, saying: "It is just amazing. They have told us, they have told their own leaders that they are tired of fighting each other."

"They want a new era where transition will be done through the ballot box and not the bullet. And this is what gives me hope and I believe together we will succeed," the envoy concluded.

PANA recalled that more than three years of civil war and sectarian violence have displaced thousands of people in the CAR amid continuing clashes between the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian.

The UN, however, recently reported an upsurge in violence, in particular last September and October, committed by armed elements.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 17March2016

17 march 2016 15:16:53

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