[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] announced [press release] Thursday that UN workers were informed on August 30 that a teenage girl in the Central African Republic (CAR) [BBC backgrounder] was allegedly sexually abused by a French soldier last year. This allegation comes just two months after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] announced [JURIST report] the appointment of an independent panel to review the UN’s handling of allegations that French and African soldiers sexually abused children in CAR from December 2013 to June 2014. French authorities have also been informed of the allegation, and Zeid said the UN is prepared to assist in an investigation, “Any UN or foreign military personnel found guilty must be given sentences that fit the crime.” The girl gave birth to a child in April and has also filed a local paternity case.
Sexual abuse has been a serious issue in CAR and the rest of the world recently. In August the UN Secretary General accepted the resignation [JURIST report] of the head of the CAR peacekeeping mission MINUSCA [official website] amid allegations of sexual exploitation committed by members of the peacekeeping force. In June, 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 the Secretary General 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. In May, Zeid 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.