UN SG sets up independent review of CAR sex abuse allegations

UN SG sets up independent review of CAR sex abuse allegations

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] announced Wednesday that in light of allegations of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic (CAR) by foreign troops not under UN control, an External Independent Review will be set up to examine the UN’s handling of such allegations. According to a statement [text] issued by the Secretary-General’s office, the External Independent Review will look into how the UN responded to this “specific report of abuse in the Central African Republic as well as a broad range of systemic issues related to how the UN responds to serious information of this kind.” The statement claims Ban’s “intention in setting up this review is to ensure that the United Nations does not fail the victims of sexual abuse, especially when committed by those who are meant to protect them.” The allegations stem from reports of sexual abuse of children [UN News Centre report] in the CAR by troops not administered by the UN.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website], Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in May called on several states to investigate allegations [JURIST report] that members of their peacekeeping forces sent to the CAR have committed serious human rights violations. It is reported that soldiers have engaged in the killing of civilians, summary executions, abductions and sexual exploitation of local women and children. Violence has persisted in the CAR for the past two years, escalating after the predominately Muslim-based Seleka rebels ousted the government of Bozize in March 2013. According to UN estimates, nearly 440,000 people remain displaced in the country while 190,000 others have sought asylum outside its borders. In April the CAR government voted [JURIST report] to create a Special Criminal Court to investigate the atrocities committed during recent unrest in the country. In September the International Criminal Court [official website] opened [JURIST report] a second investigation into CAR war crimes. Members of the international community maintain that there is much work to be done [JURIST op-ed] in the nation.