UN Report: 69 Sex Abuse Charges In 10 Missions

A new United Nations report says 69 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation were reported in 2015. Of these allegations, 22 are from the Central African Republic, 16 are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, nine are from Haiti, and five are from Mali.

Liberia and the Ivory Coast each reported six cases and Abyei, Cyprus, and East Timor each reported one. Two were reported from Darfur.

Twenty-three of these cases were reportedly committed against minors. Fifteen involved non-consenting adults over the age of 18. Thirty-eight of these incidents were reportedly committed by military personnel, while 16 may have been done by international police.

Even the UN’s staff may have committed these crimes. According to the report, 15 of those accused were UN staff or volunteers.

Fifteen of the allegations have made paternity claims. According to Al Jazeera, women and girls in the Central African Republic are still raising babies whose alleged fathers are the men who raped or sexually exploited them.

The 69 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation were a marked increase from last year, which reported 52 cases of abuse. It was also higher than 2014, which had 66 cases.

The UN report recognized this disturbing trend.

“This regrettably marks an increase in the number of new allegations, signifying that more needs to be done to reduce the number of allegations, and more importantly, the number of victims affected by sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by United Nations personnel.”

The report, made available to the Associated Press on Thursday, provides the names of all countries whose troops were involved.

Allegations of sexual abuse have been an embarrassing blemish on the UN, which has been fighting an uphill battle to control its peacekeepers and protect potential and actual victims.

Between 2013 and 2014 French troops reportedly sexually abused boys as young as 6-years-old. The troops were accused of promising the children food in exchange for sex.

Boys molested by French troops.
Some of the boys molested by French troops between the years 2013 and 2014 were as young as six years old [Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]

Similar incidents may have happened in Haiti, when UN soldiers were accused of trading food and medicine for sex.

There are over 100,000 peacekeepers in the world’s most poverty-stricken countries. However, few of them are punished if they commit sexual abuse because they are tried under their own jurisdictions.

Delays in reporting sexual abuse are also a problem. The report claims that long delays in reporting children’s accounts of sexual abuse have led to more accusations.

Many have spoken out against the UN’s poor handling of these incidents. The report, “Taking Action on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers,” which investigated the 2013 and 2014 allegations against French troops, said the UN’s handling of the case was “seriously flawed.”

Marie Deschamps, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and the woman who chaired the investigation, accused the UN of passing responsibility for stopping this abuse from “desk to desk and inbox to inbox.”

Those who authored the UN’s latest report are trying to fix these problems.

The report wants nations “to establish on-site court martial proceedings… when allegations amount to sex crimes under national legislation.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has also called on member states to get DNA samples from those accused of sexual abuse.

The Secretary-General said the United Nations is establishing a trust fund to support what it calls “specialized services” to help victims of sex crimes.

Ba Ki-moon calls for DNA samples.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for DNA samples of those accused of sexual abuse [Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

Yet, the United Nations has been trying to deal with its sexual abuse problems for well over a decade.

In 2003, then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan promised swift action and a policy of zero tolerance against sexual predators in the UN’s peacekeeping missions.

Sexual abuse from UN peacekeepers continues, though, and as of now, shows no signs of stopping.

[Photo by Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images]