UN investigating fresh Central Africa rape allegations

Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:18am GMT
 

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations is investigating fresh allegations of sexual abuse in Central African Republic, where peacekeepers have been hit with numerous charges of sexual abuse over the past year, a U.N. spokesman said on Monday.

"A team from the Republic of Congo arrived in the country to investigate recent allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against their troops," Farhan Haq told reporters.

He offered no details on the allegations. Another U.N. official told Reuters that some of the new allegations involved minors.

Earlier this month the U.N. peacekeeping mission for Central African Republic (CAR) said it had identified seven new cases of sexual abuse by its troops, including women and girls Human Rights Watch (HRW) says were raped or gang raped.

The mission's previous head, Babacar Gaye, resigned amid sexual abuse allegations by peacekeepers last August.

In December, an independent review panel accused the United Nations and its agencies of grossly mishandling allegations of child sexual abuse in 2013 and 2014 by international peacekeepers in CAR, calling its approach to the charges "seriously flawed" and a "gross institutional failure."

The world body has pledged to crack down on allegations of misconduct and abuse to avoid a repeat of past mistakes.

France intervened in CAR, a former colony, over two years ago to stem violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels who had seized power. It started withdrawing some of its 2,000 troops last year, handing over to U.N. peacekeepers.

France is also among the countries whose troops have been accused of sexual abuse in CAR. It has been investigating the charges since last year.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Dan Grebler)

A United Nations security officer keeps guard as people wait in line to cast their votes during the second round of presidential and legislative elections in the mostly Muslim PK5 neighbourhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, February 14, 2016. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola
 
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