Central African Republic – UN investigate child abuse by blue helmets

re posted from                              Presstv.com

Sat Jul 2, 2016 6:43AM
This file photo taken on January 19, 2014 shows a French soldier stands guard as people wait to seek refuge at the Boali church, in Boali, Central African Republic. ©AFP
This file photo taken on January 19, 2014 shows a French soldier stands guard as people wait to seek refuge at the Boali church, in Boali, Central African Republic. ©AFP

The United Nations has reported two new cases of child sexual abuse charges against its peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) as the world body continues an investigation into similar cases.

The UN secretary-general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday that the new allegations from two underage kids were related to the incidents that had reportedly taken place in May.

Dujarric was addressing a press conference, in which he provided an update on the ongoing investigations by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on many reports of sexual exploitation and abuse of mostly minors by French troops and other UN peacekeepers in the CAR’s Kemo Prefecture.

He said the UN would notify the concerned member states and request for national investigators to look into the new allegations.

Dujarric did not provide details on the nationalities of the peacekeepers under investigation.

According to Dujarric, the new information is undergoing preliminary review and assessment by OIOS in a bit to verify its credibility, saying all subsequent measures would be taken as required in an expeditious manner.

He further declared that nearly 50 witnesses have so far been identified and are being interviewed in order to corroborate the testimonies.

A file picture taken on February 18, 2014, in Bangui, Central African Republic, shows French troops on light armoured vehicles. ©AFP

The UN and various countries have come under increasing criticism for sexual abuse of minors by peacekeepers.

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Deputy Head of MINUSCA (UN’s peacekeeping mission in CAR) Diane Corner as well as several other UN delegates were told by local leaders and victims in March that troops from France and Gabon had sexually abused several girls in the Kemo region of the Central African Republic between 2013 and 2015.

The CAR, one of the world’s poorest countries, plunged into turmoil in December 2013, when Christian armed groups launched coordinated attacks against the mostly-Muslim Seleka group, which itself had toppled the government in March that year.

France invaded the CAR, a former French colony, after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution giving the African Union and France the go-ahead to send troops to the country in a bid to contain the violence.

According to the latest UN estimates, the conflict in the CAR has internally displaced 399,000 people and forced more than 460,000 to flee to neighboring countries.