[JURIST] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] on Wednesday accepted the resignation the head of the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) [BBC backgrounder] over reports of sexual exploitation committed by members of the mission. Mr. Ban told reporters [UN report] after firing Babacar Gaye of Senegal that he has called a special session of the UN Security Council [official website] over the matter and pledged the UN’s commitment to bringing all perpetrators to justice. “I cannot put into words how anguished, angered and ashamed I am by recurrent reports over the years of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN forces,” said Mr. Ban. “When the United Nations deploys peacekeepers, we do so to protect the world’s most vulnerable people in the world’s most desperate places… I will not tolerate any action that causes people to replace trust with fear.” The peacekeeping force in CAR has faced [AP report] 57 allegations of misconduct, including 11 cases of possible sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse has been a serious issue in CAR and the rest of the world recently. In June Mr. Ban announced [JURIST report] the appointment of an independent panel to review the organization’s handling of allegations that French and African soldiers sexually abused children in CAR from December 2013 to June 2014. Earlier that month, according to an unreleased report obtained by the Associated Press, some members of a UN peacekeeping mission engaged in sexual exploitation [JURIST report] with more than 200 Haitian women, telling them that they had to in order to obtain necessary food and medication. Also in June Mr. Ban announced [JURIST report] that in light of allegations of sexual abuse in the 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. This announcement came before the later one in June involving the allegations against French and African soldiers. In May The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, called on [JURIST report] several states to investigate allegations that members of their peacekeeping forces sent to the CAR have committed serious human rights violations, including sexual exploitation.