Governments who fail to investigate and sanction allegations of sexual abuse by their soldiers should be banned from taking part in United Nations peacekeeping missions, the US ambassador to the UN has said.
Samantha Power said that those who send troops to form part of peacekeeping contingents had a responsibility to protect the reputation of the organisation and its missions by investigating sex abuse claims “promptly, thoroughly and impartially”.
Speaking during a visit to the Central African Republic, where a large number of abuse allegations have surfaced in the past year, she said peacekeepers had “the potential to do tremendous good, and inflict tremendous harm”.
“Governments that fail to fulfill their duty to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute, should be denied the privilege of serving in UN peacekeeping missions, and their units should be repatriated,” she said.
Those who had been abused suffered long after the event because they were shunned by their communities and blamed for what happened to them.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki moon Credit: AP “It was gut-wrenching to hear them speak about how the peacekeepers they had looked to as protectors became perpetrators,” said Mrs Power, a former war correspondent who visited families of those allegedly abused in Bambari on Thursday.
Her comments came as it emerged that 108 new allegations of abuse have been made to UN investigators by women and girls, in addition to the 42 already lodged since peacekeepers arrived following the outbreak of civil war in 2012.
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