UN ‘Peacekeepers’ rape children in Central African Republic

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The UN press release said a girl and a boy aged seven and nine were allegedly abused by French troops in exchange for a bottle of water and a sachet of cookies.

UN ‘Peacekeepers’ rape children in Central African Republic

U.N. peacekeepers take a break as they patrol along a street during the presidential election in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, December 30, 2015. © Media Coulibaly / Reuters

On January 30, senior UN officials disclosed names of the countries whose peacekeepers are accused of sexually abusing and exploiting children aged from 7 to 16 in the war-torn Central African Republic.

The UN human rights staff in the Central African Republic (CAR) interviewed several girls who said they were raped, abused or paid for sex by United Nations and EU peacekeepers since 2014.

According to the UN press release a girl and a boy aged seven and nine were allegedly abused by French troops in exchange for a bottle of water and a sachet of cookies while the troops were taking part in Operation Sangaris.

The report shows that four other girls, aged 14 and 16 said their abusers belonged to the peacekeeping force operating as part of the European Union operation EUFOR CAR. The press release also said that two of the girls interviewed said they were raped, while the other two said they were paid to have sexual relationships with other EUFOR troops, believing the soldiers were members of the Georgian contingent.

Muslim rebels seized power in the predominantly Christian CAR in 2013, stirring up religious violence that has killed thousands. Later, France sent troops and launched Operation Sangaris, the 7th French military intervention in the country. European Union troops were there from April 2014 to March 2015.

“I think it’s hard to imagine the outrage that the people working for the United Nations and for the causes of peace and security feel when these kinds of allegations come to light. Particularly involving minors, it’s so hard to understand,” Anthony Banbury, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support, told journalists on Friday.

The UN launched a probe into allegations of sexual abuse in CAR previously, announcing it has contacted the troop contributing countries’ authorities urging them to conduct their national investigations into the new abuse cases.

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