The UN must review the oversight of its peacekeeping operations, Amnesty International said ahead of today’s Security Council meeting called to discuss allegations of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic (CAR) revealed on Tuesday.
“If the UN is determined to end the scourge of sexual abuse and exploitation by its peacekeepers, it must finally recognize that the current system is not working. It has failed to address abuses in the past, failing the victims it was supposed to protect,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.
“Ban Ki-moon himself has said that trust in UN peacekeepers must not be replaced by fear. But until the UN acts to ensure rigorous screening mechanisms for peacekeepers and increased criminal accountability for their actions, such atrocities will continue.”
On Wednesday Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the CAR and head of MINUSCA, Babacar Gaye, resigned at the request of the UN Secretary-General.
This followed Amnesty International’s press release implicating UN peacekeeping troops in CAR in the rape of a 12-year-old girl and the indiscriminate killings of a 16-year-old boy and his father – the latest in a series of reports of abuse and exploitation by UN forces.
In response to the allegations Ban Ki-moon has called a meeting of the UN Security Council for today over the issue of sexual abuse allegations.
Several reviews are under way to address systemic problems faced by the UN peace operations. The UN already set up an External Independent Review Panel in June to examine the UN’s handling of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in CAR. Amnesty International is calling for this panel’s mandate to be either broadened or followed by a more comprehensive review of the UN’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse allegations.
“This problem goes beyond particular officials such as General Gaye. It reflects great systemic issues that allow peacekeepers to commit these atrocious crimes with seemingly total impunity,” said Joanne Mariner.
“Speaking out against it is not enough. Action and leadership on this issue are urgently needed.”