International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

UN Report Accuses French Soldiers of Abusing Children in Central African Republic

A recently released UN Report detailed a plethora of crimes allegedly committed by French soldiers in the Central African Republic (CAR) that spanned from December 2013 through June 2014. Staff from UNICEF interviewed six children from CAR to testified that French soldiers coerced them into engaging in what ranged from oral sex to full intercourse with them, in exchange for meager amounts or food or money. Some of the children also reported being physically abused by the soldiers when they attempted to refuse their advances. Paula Donovan, who is the co-Director of the organization AIDS Free World, advocated for increased involvement from the UN, noting that while the soldiers were in CAR under the authority of the French government, “the children should expect that the United Nations will not only protect them, but also provide the services which are so desperately needed by children who have been forced to have oral sex by a man with a gun in return for food.”

The international community has become increasingly aware of crimes committed by peacekeepers. Nearly half of all the accusations against peacekeepers involve sexual abuse or violence against a minor; children have reported that peacekeepers have coerced them into some form of sex with as little as a peace of candy or a dollar bill. The UN has a public database of crimes brought against the peacekeepers; however, despite this effort to promote transparency, it hasn’t published the outcomes of these cases. The US State Department even criticized the UN in its 2010 human trafficking report, saying, “no comprehensive information is available on the number of cases of disciplinary action.”  While the UN has a “zero tolerance” policy regarding abuse by peacekeepers, it has come under some criticism for effectively leaving the peacekeeper’s home country to prosecute, which makes it less likely that soldiers will be held accountable for their actions.


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