Time to break the silence on sex abuse by UN troops, says envoy

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UN special envoy for CAR, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga. File Photo: MINUSCA

The days of silence on sexual abuse and exploitation are over, the UN special envoy in the Central African Republic (CAR) has said, encouraging victims to come forward.

In 2015, the organization confirmed that 22 of the 69 cases against peacekeepers serving under the UN flag took place in the West African country.

A recent UN resolution passed in March would allow for the repatriation of troops or police serving in peacekeeping missions if found guilty of the crimes.

Jocelyne Sambira has the story.

Writing with strong emotion in an opinion piece for the American weekly news magazine, Newsweek, the UN special envoy for CAR, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, expressed his personal "shock and distress" when learning about a new series of allegations after his appointment.

Onanga-Anyanga joined the mission in late August 2015 following the resignation of his predecessor over accusations against peacekeepers under his command.

He pointed to the story of a young 14-year old girl in a small town in the remote central regions of the country who had been allegedly raped by peacekeepers.

He said he was overwhelmed by feelings of "despair and anger" but made the commitment to do everything he could to prevent further cases, putting in place a policy of "transparency and accountability."

Mr Anyanga has been touring the country, talking to uniformed and civilian UN personnel sending a stern message that the abuse was "unacceptable" and reminding them of their obligations to protect the people of CAR.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’04″

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