U.N. peacekeepers reportedly paid 13-year old girls for sex

United Nations peacekeepers patrol in Bangui in the Central African Republic. (ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

An investigation revealed that at least four UN peacekeepers have been accused of paying girls as young as 13 for sex in a camp for the internally displaced in the Central African Republic, the latest in a series of allegations of sexual abuse among the UN forces. In the past 14 months, UN employees have been accused of 22 other incidents of alleged sexual abuse or sexual exploitation in the conflict-ridden country alone. In recent years, other cases of sexual abuse among UN employees have occurred in Mali, South Sudan, Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon recently denounced it as “a cancer in our system” and announced a zero tolerance policy for such offenses.

An independent investigation published last month by the UN concluded that the poor enforcement of the policies in place to deter and report abuse are jeopardizing “the credibility of the UN and peacekeeping operations.” For years, the international organization has been trying to stop abuse perpetrated by its employees and troops, but the slow pace of investigations and the fact that prosecution is the responsibility of the governments of countries providing the peacekeepers, who in many cases fail to punish the offenders, has hindered progress. “The UN should stop tiptoeing around, trying not to offend governments and instead put the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse at the heart of their policy,” Sarah Taylor, a women’s rights advocate with Human Rights Watch told The Washington Post.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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