Burundi: Report cases of sexual abuse by UN staff, envoy urges

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BUJUMBURA, 10 June (IRIN) - UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette concluded her two-day visit to Burundi on Friday with a call to NGOs and victims of sexual abuse by UN staff to report such cases to the UN Mission in Burundi, known as ONUB.

She told a news conference in the capital, Bujumbura, that NGOs should report cases of abuse that the victims "do not dare to report themselves".

An inquiry had been launched into claims that some members of ONUB had solicited prostitution services, Fréchette said.

"Inquiries are underway to identify the culprits and disciplinary sanctions will imposed on them," she said. She added that the inquiry should be "as complete as possible".

Fréchette, who has been touring UN missions in Africa, said there had been "limited cases of prostitution" perpetrated by elements of the UN mission, and that so far, there are "no reports of rape".

She said the UN's code of conduct on sexual exploitation and abuse applied to all UN staff - both civilian and military.

ONUB had achieved "major progress", she added, especially in security restoration.

She said implementation of the UN code of conduct in Burundi was "positive" and "encouraging", but all ONUB civilian and military leaders should remain "vigilant".

The UN Security Council established ONUB in 2003 to help Burundi end more than 11 years of civil war. A 46-month transitional government is due to end in August and a series of democratic elections have begun, with the presidential poll set for 19 August.


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