For those that questioned whether the UN was actually helping people or if they were up to no good, it looks there is justification for the doubts. The AP has revealed a child sex ring being operated by UN peacekeepers in Haiti. Naturally, many people are skeptical there will actually be justice for these terrible crimes against children.
The UN has voted to end its peacekeeping mission in Haiti, but U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the mission had been a nightmare for many Haitians. She cited an Associated Press report that gave a graphic description of UN peacekeepers sexually abusing homeless children.
NPR reported Haley said, “One boy was gang raped in 2011 by peacekeepers who disgustingly filmed it on a cell phone. What do we say to these kids? Did these peacekeepers keep them safe?”
The U.N. men who came from a far-away place and spoke a strange language offered the Haitian children cookies and other snacks. Sometimes they gave them a few dollars. But the price was high: The Sri Lankan peacekeepers wanted sex from girls and boys as young as 12, reported The Independent.
“I did not even have breasts,” said a girl, known as V01 — Victim Number One. She told UN investigators that over the next three years, from ages 12 to 15, she had sex with nearly 50 peacekeepers, including a “Commandant” who gave her 75 cents. Sometimes she slept in UN trucks on the base next to the decaying resort, whose once-glamorous buildings were being overtaken by jungle.
These victims rarely see justice for the terrible crimes committed against them. An AP investigation of UN missions during the past 12 years revealed nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and other personnel around the world. Over 300 of the allegations involved children, but few of the alleged perpetrators served jail time.
The UN has no legal jurisdiction over peacekeepers, leaving punishment to the home countries of the troops.
The Independent continued the report:
The AP interviewed alleged victims, current and former UN officials and investigators and sought answers from 23 countries on the number of peacekeepers who faced such allegations and, what if anything, was done to investigate. With rare exceptions, few nations responded to repeated requests, while the names of those found guilty are kept confidential, making accountability impossible to determine.
Without agreement for widespread reform and accountability from the UN’s member states, solutions remain elusive.
Here in Haiti, at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers exploited nine children in a sex ring from 2004 to 2007, according to an internal UN report obtained by the AP. In the wake of the report, 114 peacekeepers were sent home. None was ever imprisoned.
In March, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced new measures to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers and other personnel. But the proclamation had a depressingly familiar ring: More than a decade ago, the United Nations commissioned a report that promised to do much the same thing, yet most of the reforms never materialised.
The children in Haiti continued to be passed around between UN soldiers while these promises were being made and broken. And in the years since, peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuse the world over.
The UN’s head of field support said Wednesday, in response to the AP investigation, the international body was aware of shortcomings in the system.
“We believe we are advancing in the right direction, especially with the secretary-general’s new approach,” said Atul Khare who heads the UN department in charge of peacekeeper discipline and conduct. “Improving the assistance provided to victims, who are at the heart of our response, is fundamental.”
Mr Khare also said the organisation was working with member states to hold perpetrators to account.
In one particularly grim case in Haiti, a teenage boy said he was gang-raped in 2011 by Uruguayan peacekeepers who filmed the alleged assault on a cellphone. Dozens of Haitian women also say they were raped, and dozens more had what is euphemistically called “survival sex” in a country where most people live on less than $2.50 a day, the AP found.
Haitian lawyer Mario Joseph has been trying to get compensation for victims of a deadly cholera strain linked to Nepalese peacekeepers that killed an estimated 10,000 people. Now, he is also trying to get child support for about a dozen Haitian women left pregnant by peacekeepers.
“Imagine if the UN was going to the United States and raping children and bringing cholera,” Mr Joseph said in Port-au-Prince. “Human rights aren’t just for rich white people.”
US Senator Bob Corker agrees. The Tennessee Republican, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been calling for reforms in the United Nations. He may well get them under President Donald Trump, whose administration has proposed a 31 percent reduction to the US foreign aid and diplomacy budget. Mr Corker and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley want a review of all missions.
Mr Corker recalled his disgust at hearing of the UN sexual abuse cases uncovered last year in Central African Republic.
“If I heard that a UN peacekeeping mission was coming near my home in Chattanooga,” he told AP, “I’d be on the first plane out of here to go back and protect my family.”
The UN needs to take action and make sure these people are held accountable for their crimes. How can anyone trust UN troops if they are allowed to take advantage of children and commit terrible acts against them that could destroy their future?
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)