After new reports of sexual exploitation and abuse surfaced against troops of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), the head of the operation, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, strongly condemned the alleged incidents and announced that multifunction team would be dispatched to the location to gather the facts.
In anews release, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga, who is also the UN Special Representative in CAR, condemned the acts as “completely unacceptable” and emphasized his commitment to “ensure justice is served in each and every case.”
The UN stabilization Mission, known by the French acronym MINUSCA, plans to today dispatch a multifunctional team to the location to gather the facts, sensitize the troops involved, and to take immediate preventive and disciplinary measures and more broadly to take corrective action against misconduct behaviour throughout the mission.
Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga reiterated his intention to take swift and appropriate measures should the allegations be substantiated.
He stressed that although MINUSCA troops put their lives at risk to bravely protect CAR civilians every day with limited means and in harsh conditions, any single incident of abuse is “utterly abhorrent.”
Lastly, he expressed his sadness that reports of sexual abuse and exploitation continue to emerge in spite of all MINUSCA’s transparency policy and zero tolerance policy and efforts to prevent, investigate, and ensure accountability for such misconduct.
These new allegations follow what the UN has confirmed to be 63 allegations of misconduct at the Mission since it began operations last year, with Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous reporting after a four-day visit to CAR in September that out of these 63 allegations, “15 relate to possible sexual exploitation and abuse. […] Most of those cases are under investigation.”
“Fifteen cases is definitely too much, and I had a long meeting with uniformed personnel in Bangui, I gave them a very, very, strong worded speech based, of course, on what the Secretary-General himself had said when the problem surfaced,” Mr. Ladsous stressed at the time.
Mr. Ladsous’ press briefing on the issue was shortly followed by a meeting at UN Headquarters with troop- and police-contributing countries during which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlining specific actions aimed at ending sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel that require “urgent” support from countries that provide troops and police to peacekeeping operations.