UN: UN peacekeeping chief says UN responding to CAR sexual abuse allegations

New York, US (PANA) - UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Herve Ladsous, said that following reports of alleged sexual exploitation and abuse, seven peacekeepers serving with the UN mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been repatriated, while nine have had their payments suspended.

"There have been since the mission started last year 63 allegations of possible misconduct,"
Mr. Ladsous said in a statement issued to UN reporters in New York on Monday following a
four-day visit to CAR.

He stated: "Out of these 63 allegations, 15 relate to possible sexual exploitation and abuse, and
most of those cases are under investigation."

In addition to meeting with government officials and average citizens during his visit to the country, Mr. Ladsous met with personnel of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization
Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) and discussed the fight against sexual exploitation and abuse, in
the wake of recent allegations.

He reported that following one of the latest allegations involving a peacekeeper from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN asked the country’s authorities to send national
investigations, noting hat the investigation reportedly took place and the UN is awaiting its
conclusions.

He disclosed the suspension of payments for nine peacekeepers, who were allegedly involved
in cases of sexual abuse.

"Fifteen cases are definitely 15 cases too much, and I had a long meeting with uniformed
personnel in Bangui, I gave them a very, very, strong worded speech based, of course, on
what the Secretary-General himself had said when the problem surfaced," Mr. Ladsous
stressed.

The UN official said that a meeting will soon take place at the UN headquarters with troop- and
police-contributing countries during which the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will outline
priorities to be achieved with their support.

Mr. Ladsous also said he and the UN Under Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare,
submitted a list of 40 proposals to the UN chief 10 days ago.

"One very clear issue is whether we could actually name the countries concerned. I am not
talking of naming and shaming – shaming is something else – but naming because obviously
it has to be known who is responsible, so we will look at that," he noted.

The peacekeeping chief also highlighted the very difficult living conditions under which UN
personnel are living, especially in some of CAR’s provinces.

"I was appalled, even more so than on previous visits, by the conditions of our peacekeepers,
the conditions they are living in, in Central Africa.

"Some had been deployed since the times of the African Union, 18 to 24 months. They have no opportunity to travel for rest and recuperation because they don’t get money. We do give the UN member states welfare money, but I’m not sure in many cases the soldiers see the colour of it," he stated.

He also added that the UN was looking at ways and means to offer peacekeepers relatively
cheap rest and recuperation trips, but it would be difficult as the capital, Bangui, has a very
poorly served airport with only one or two flights a day.

Mr. Ladsous once again reiterated that sexual abuse and exploitation was unacceptable,
saying: "It simply reflects on the United Nations, it reflects on the trust that people should feel for us and that we are, in a way, betraying."

Regarding the political situation in the country, the UN official insisted that elections in CAR
should take place this year “in good time” as the second transitional government ends on
31 December, and there would be no third one.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 14Sept2015

14 september 2015 14:57:54




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