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Concerns raised over MINUSCA sexual abuse allegations in CAR

Concerns raised over MINUSCA sexual abuse allegations in CAR

Central African Republic

The United Nations continues to be plagued with alleged sexual abuse scandals by international peacekeepers in Central African Republic (CAR).

Earlier in the month, the UN announced 108 new sexual abuse cases with around 100 of the victims being children.

Among the fresh claims are reports of bestiality by a French military commander two years ago.

We should never be here talking about such horrors. We are the force, the only force, on which the nation and the people are reckoning.

These allegations have angered Central Africans who feel that the peacekeeping operation, MINUSCA, has further deepened the country’s worries.

“What have they come to do here in our country, in Central African Republic? I just don’t know. They do not do their work normally,” said Emelienne Namsona a displaced person.

The accusations, dating from 2013 through last year have angered many and the UN has vowed to act as deemed fit to curb sexual abuse acts.

“It’s appalling. It’s disgusting. It’s simply unacceptable. It’s hurting. It’s shameful. We should never be here talking about such horrors. We are the force, the only force, on which the nation and the people are reckoning,” said Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, CAR UN special representative and MINUSCA head.

“And by the way, you will notice, that is precisely where we are, wherever there is a camp, that IDPs rush because they’re trustful. They know that if they go close to the UN, they will be protected. So that’s why it’s so unacceptable. It’s absolutely unacceptable,” Onanga-Anyanga added.

In March, the UN Security Council voted in favour of the repatriation of peacekeeping units who are accused or suspected of sexual abuse.

The 15-member council expressed their deep concerns over the allegations which were reported last month by United Nations peacekeepers in 2015.

In the report, 99 allegations of sexual exploitation or sexual abuse were reported across the UN peacekeeping system, a spike from 80 in 2014.

Furthermore, majority of the allegations were reported in 10 missions.

Sexual abuse by peacekeepers have been rife over the years and the UN has been under immense pressure to tackle such allegations swiftly.

The UN is now calling for on-site court-martials and DNA testing to identify the abusers.

Troops were deployed in CAR after the African country broke into sectarian conflict late 2012. In 2013, CAR plunged into deeper violence when rebels ousted former president Francois Bozize.

Violence between Muslim rebels and a Christian militia group has led to the deaths of thousands and displacement of nearly one million people.

For several months, violence has since subsided and hopes for stability has arose with the inauguration of a new President last week. Nevertheless, sexual abuse and war crimes remain a serious concern.

Last week three Congolese peacekeepers appeared before a tribunal in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The three are accused of sex abuse and are the first troops to be prosecuted for sexual abuse claims in CAR.