UN probing sex abuse complaints in Central African Republic

UN probing sex abuse complaints in Central African Republic

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The United Nations has commenced investigation of sex abuse allegations leveled against its troops in war ravaged Central African Republic.

According to Agency report, the United Nations confirmed on Thursday it was looking into allegations of mishandled or unreported complaints of sexual abuse and exploitation made against its peacekeepers in the conflict-torn Central African Republic.

The U.N.’s 10,000-strong mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has been dogged by accusations of sex abuse since it deployed in 2014 to curb fighting between mainly Muslim Seleka rebels, who had ousted the president, and Christian militias.

The report further revealed that Internal U.N. case files handed to Code Blue, a campaign by a nongovernmental organization seeking greater accountability for U.N. troops, detailed 14 initial fact-finding inquiries into complaints made against MINUSCA peacekeepers from nine nations.

Under U.N. rules, peacekeepers are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the countries that sent them to serve abroad.

Yet the files was alleged to have revealed that 10 of the 14 cases were handled only by U.N. personnel, without involvement of investigators from the accused soldiers’ home countries, and that in eight of the 14 cases, the alleged victims were not interviewed, Code Blue said.

“These 14 cases demonstrate that the U.N. filters reports of complaints, usually tossing them out before the matters ever reach the competent authorities from troop-contributing countries,” said Sharanya Kanikkannan, a lawyer with Code Blue.

“This filtering ensures that there is no access to justice for the vast majority of victims since they cannot gain access to law enforcement authorities without first convincing U.N. staff to believe them,” Kanikkannan added in a statement.

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Chuka Francis

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