United Nations Caught In Sex Abuse Scandal
“Investigations are mired in bureaucracy”
The United Nations has been caught in a sex abuse scandal.
Last year, French peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic were revealed to have sexually abused boys as young as nine by forcing them to have oral sex. The abuse carried on for five months by an unknown number of soldiers. According to testimonies collected by the U.N., the boys were sometimes lured with the promise of military rations.
Though France has launched an investigation into the incident, one year later no one has been charged or punished as of yet. As peacekeepers, whether serving under the U.N. banner or their home countries — as in the case of the French soldiers — it’s the home country’s responsibility to investigate and prosecute the cases, as the U.N. has no jurisdiction over them.
The United Nations hasn’t been a great help either, with officials keeping quiet about the issue, refusing to say anything in public that may embarrass the organization. Between 2008 and 2013, roughly one third of all sexual abuse allegations against U.N. personnel, both military and civilian, involved children.
An audit carried out by the Office of Internal Oversight found that U.N. investigations into these matters were “hindered by a complex architecture, prolonged delays, unknown and varying outcomes and severely deficient assistance.” Though the U.N. has in the past promised a “zero tolerance” policy towards allegations of sex abuse, the audit discovered investigations “are mired in bureaucracy; commanders are not often held accountable for what happens in their ranks; and the most common form of punishment is sending the troops back to their home countries and barring them from serving in future missions.”
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