Two UN peacekeepers in Burundi repatriated for violating sexual code of conduct

News and Press Release
Originally published
Pursuing its zero-tolerance policy against sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping operations and mission personnel around the world, the United Nations announced today that two Ethiopian soldiers in Burundi were found in breach of the code of conduct and were being repatriated.
One soldier was found guilty of paying for consensual sex, while the other was found guilty of sex with a legal minor. There are currently no other cases under investigation for sexual exploitation in the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB).

"In this case, the mission moved quickly and decisively against the soldiers in question, and the UN in turn will be following up with the Member State with regard to disciplinary action," UN spokesman Marie Okabe told the daily briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.

"The Secretary General has a zero tolerance policy and ONUB, along with our other peacekeeping missions, take this very seriously. When mission focal points for code of conduct issues receive allegations against UN personnel, they are investigated thoroughly, and if substantiated, they are acted on immediately and robustly," she added.

Mr. Annan vowed to put an end to sexual exploitation and abuse by UN mission personnel after some 150 allegations against UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) came under investigation.

"I am afraid there is clear evidence that acts of gross misconduct have taken place. This is a shameful thing for the United Nations to have to say, and I am absolutely outraged by it," he said then.

The UN forbids peacekeepers to pay for sex or to have sex with girls younger than 18. In the DRC, investigators found that payment ranged from two eggs to $5 per encounter. Some of the victims were abandoned orphans and were often illiterate.