MINUSCA takes action on reports of sexual abuse by peacekeepers

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The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) in the Central African Republic (CAR) has received new allegations of sexual abuse of at least three (3) minors by Mauritanian peacekeepers in southern CAR.

As soon as the first allegations reached him on Monday, 24 September, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for the Central African Republic and head of MINUSCA, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, immediately sent a multidisciplinary team to the scene to establish the needs of the alleged victims, to identify the perpetrators of such acts and to collect and preserve relevant evidence. In addition, a team from the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), as well as the Conduct and Discipline Section and the Victims' Rights Advocate, visited the site from Saturday, September 29 to Monday, October 1, to reinforce the preliminary investigations.

In accordance with the Protocol on Assistance to Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, the alleged victims have received medical and psychosocial support from two partner institutions of the United Nations System.

Due to the seriousness of these allegations and the information gathered by the preliminary fact-finding mission, the United Nations took immediate and appropriate measures, including the confinement of the one suspect who has been identified. Any additional complaints can be channeled directly to MINUSCA or through the community-based reporting network set up with the support of the Mission.

Per normal established procedures, the concerned troops contribution country has been informed of these allegations by the United Nations in New York and requested that a National Investigation Officer be appointed within five (5) working days, and for the investigation to be completed within the reduced 90-days timeframe. The United Nations has also requested that any national investigation be conducted jointly with OIOS.

The SRSG has expressed his strong condemnation of such acts, if confirmed, and reiterated his commitment to take further action against any identified perpetrators. The SRSG stressed his commitment to continue the fight against this scourge in the context of the Secretary-General's zero tolerance policy, recalling that "sexual exploitation and abuse constitute a serious violation of United Nations values and standards, and also an unacceptable infringement of the dignity and security of the population that the peacekeepers deployed in the CAR have the mission to protect".