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There’re New Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Central African Republic, UN Reports

The United Nations has received new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by both non-UN and UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here Monday.

The new allegations received by UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) were dated back to 2014 and 2015, Dujarric said at a daily news briefing. He did not specify how many new allegations had been received.

However, he provided details of one alleged case involving a minor and members of the Burundian military contingent.

"The allegations are in connection with the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl which was first reported to the mission by UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) last week," he said.

Meanwhile, Dujarric also provided details of a new case of sexual exploitation which took place in 2016 involving a member of the Moroccan military contingent, and said that in total 25 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse had been reported since the beginning of the year.

He said the alleged victims were receiving medical and psycho-social support from a UNICEF partner organization.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic has been rocked by recurring allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Babacar Gaye of Senegal, the head of MINUSCA, resigned in August 2015 following concerns about the handling of a spate of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse. Some of the allegations were made against French soldiers and occurred before the UN mission was established in September 2014.

The concerns were also voiced on the UN’s handling of the subsequent investigation, reports said.

In response to these concerns, the UN has committed to increasing reporting of allegations, including now providing the names of the countries where alleged perpetrators come from and information about investigations and other actions undertaken by the home country.

Under UN regulations, responsibility for prosecuting sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers rests with the peacekeeper’s home country.

By Robert Muriisa.

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