The United Nations is investigation allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by its peacekeepers stationed in the war-ravaged North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC, reported today that in keeping with the Secretary-General's “zero tolerance” policy for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN staff, the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is investigating possible cases of misconduct by MONUC personnel.
It said, however, that information received so far is incomplete and unsubstantiated. The Mission also urges all staff to cooperate with OIOS investigators.
In August, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was deeply troubled by evidence that several Indian peacekeepers previously assigned to a MONUC unit may have sexually abused civilians there. Mr. Ban said the Indian Government had assured the UN that the allegations would be promptly and thoroughly investigated and, if proven, strict and exemplary action would be taken as per the law.
At the same time, MONUC officials said they were on track to stamp out sexual abuse by peacekeepers through measures such as establishing “out-of-bounds” areas for troops and night-time curfews as well as stopping them from going out in civilian clothes.
MONUC, which was established in late 1999, is currently the largest UN peacekeeping missions in the world. On Monday, the Security Council extended the mandate of the 20,000-strong operation for another year until 31 December 2009.