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After nearly women and girls in Central African Republic accused Burundian and Gabonese peacekeepers of rape, sexual abuse, and exploitation, the UN deployed investigators to the country in The of allegations rose to more thanwith more than half ultimately dismissed. The draft report details a litany of problems in the way investigators conducted interviews with the alleged victims — from the Burundians discrediting their testimony to the UN failing to ask crucial follow-up questions that could have corroborated their s. It also states that:. TNH obtained the draft report in mid-October.
An internal UN draft report obtained by TNH reviews investigations into at least claims of sexual exploitation and abuse brought by women and girls against UN peacekeepers from Burundi and Gabon in The draft report includes these findings and claims by respondents about missteps when investigating the allegations.
The majority of the allegations were dismissed, according to UN data. The draft report highlighted that at least one case against a peacekeeper was dismissed due to shortcomings in the investigation. The draft report was based on responses from 23 UN staff, three former workers, and other respondents involved in the investigation and operation in Dekoa — a remote town five hours drive north of the capital, Bangui — from April to September Have a great idea for an investigation?. OIOSformed inperforms three oversight functions inside the UN: internal audits, investigations, and evaluations.
A former OIOS investigator, who asked to remain anonymous because the review was meant to be internal, shared the draft report with TNH, hoping its findings would be publicised and more could be done to assist the women and girls who made the allegations. Troop-contributing countries are responsible for investigating their own soldiers, but OIOS often assists them. Gabon and Burundi, which supplied the peacekeepers who are the alleged perpetrators, agree to conduct investigations alongside OIOS, after a request from the UN.
OIOS staff deploy to Dekoa, spending days and interviewing people. Internal review submitted to OIOS. An investigation by The New Humanitarian reveals stark gaps in assistance to women Live sex grand Central African Republic girls who made the allegations — most of whom had no idea of the status of their cases — and learns of the internal UN review. TNH obtains a draft of the internal review report, which details multiple problems in the Dekoa investigations. Most never have been. The Dekoa allegations came a year after allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against French troops in CAR came to light.
Children as young as nine were allegedly raped and sodomised in Bangui in and by the French soldiers, according to an internal UN report handed to the Guardian newspaper in April Some 3, victims, including in Central African Republic, have benefited from the trust fund, the UN says. Last year, there were allegations of UN sexual exploitation and abuse — an increase compared to the two years, and one the UN attributed to higher reporting due to a greater awareness around the issue. It was at a displacement camp in Dekoa that much of the alleged abuse and exploitation occurred.
When TNH interviewed alleged victims last year, none knew about the status of the investigations. Most had more immediate concerns: a mattress to sleep on or money to put themselves or children through school. Years after their alleged mistreatment by UN peacekeepers, the women and girls who spoke to TNH last year described largely feeling abandoned; UN agencies and NGOs Live sex grand Central African Republic support to victims of sexual exploitation and abusebut few if any provisions are made for women whose claims are under investigation.
Some women who made allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse were under the age of 18, while two women who claimed to have been raped by Gabonese troops said they were looking after the children of those rapes on their own. Paternity was disputed in both cases. That would be justice. Read some of their testimonies, as found in the draft report, below.
It was evident to me that some investigators had never received training in interviewing victims of sexual assault. The location in Dekoa had secured beds, but nothing else; there was no food or supplies prepared, no security in place, no communication methods and no transportation secured. Investigating allegations of sexual abuse is difficult at the best of times. But a litany of mistakes made by investigators and detailed in the review may explain why so many of the allegations brought by women and girls were dismissed.
One OIOS team member even suggested pulling out of the t investigation altogether, the draft report noted. Some OIOS investigators were also described as inexperienced and lacking empathy, while others reported getting pressure from supervisors to produce a minimum of interviews per day, potentially compromising cases.
In Dekoa, the first women and girls made allegations in December to protection officer for the International Rescue Committee. OIOS investigators began work a month later to support investigators from Burundi and Gabon, which — like all countries in UN peackeeping missions — are responsible for deciding whether or not to prosecute suspects of sexual abuse.
According to publicly available UN data69 allegations against Burundi and one allegation against Gabon were unsubstantiated. More than 60 other cases — all Gabonese — remain pending — years after the investigation began. There are discrepancies in the total of allegations between the public data and the draft report.
Swanson put the at but said he thought there may have been more. There were also corruption claims, though investigators only found out about those allegations after they were on the ground. One local official, for example, was accused of soliciting false testimonies of sexual abuse and exploitation in exchange for payment. The allegation of fraud and corruption, however, was not properly followed up, the draft stated. In that case, the woman — known as Victim A — said she fell pregnant from a Burundian peacekeeper and was hospitalised after an abortion.
Ultimately, her alleged perpetrator was cleared because of errors.
The mistakes mentioned included:. Neither Burundi nor Gabon responded to questions on whether information in the draft report could lead to the re-opening of some of the cases.
This year, the UN mission in Central African Republic has seen more than 20 allegations involving 33 UN personnel — just over half the total of people accused of sexual exploitation and abuse across all the UN missions. Last year, The New Humanitarian travelled to Dekoa, a remote town in Central African Republic, to investigate whether women and girls who made allegations against UN peacekeepers had received the support they were promised. There is nobody who will fall in love with me. It has continued to this day. Whenever I pass they say things to me. I would like to go to school. I have not been in the past two years.
Because of this incident my family said I was a big woman and stopped paying the school fees. No NGO has helped with the fees. I never had a councillor who I met on a one on one basis. In order to forget this I need money to run a small business and become independent from my family. Selling coffee and palm oil and salt and soap in the market. If I Live sex grand Central African Republic more money it would help me forget and it would mean I would not have to consider trading sex for money.
What are we going to do with a jerry can? I was expecting many things to look after my baby and myself. I had to stop going to school when I had the baby. Many NGOs spoke to us and said they would support us but we got nothing. Arriving in Aprilsome 31 OIOS staff — 21 professional grade investigators — rotated in and out of Dekoa, spending days in Central African Republic and interviewing people, including complainants and witnesses, the review said.
She did not clarify why it took so long in the case of Dekoa. It is not known how many Burundian and Gabonese supplied samples. OIOS investigators interviewed for the report also complained of weak security measures and poor living conditions that left some dependent on emergency food rations and one respondent using their bedroom as an office and meeting space.
Investigators quoted in the draft report said it was a miracle nothing happened to them given the lack of security precautions taken. I was told that during the day we were protected by troops patrolling the area and making their regular rounds — that is, every time a patrol drove down the road in front of the compound. Eight investigators contracted malaria during the deployment — three with life-threatening forms of the parasite — but OIOS superiors lacked compassion and empathy, one of the investigators who fell ill said.
A month later, just one of the 18 recommendations had been implemented, according Live sex grand Central African Republic respondents in the draft report. Burundian and Gabonese peacekeepers being investigated for SEA claims were also responsible for security patrols in the area and around the compound where UN investigators were staying.
In his October s to TNH, Swanson said the conditions in Dekoa were challenging, as was the scale of the operation. The truth is that the UN is expected to work in dangerous and uncomfortable locations. OIOS investigators, too, were praised for their motivation, dedication, professionalism and the ability to work with one another. Internal reviews of t investigations are not uncommon at OIOS.
A review was conducted after Sri Lankan peacekeepers were implicated in sex ring in Haiti in More than Sri Lankan soldiers were sent home, but none were ever jailed. The New Humanitarian is an independent, non-profit newsroom founded in We deliver quality, reliable journalism about crises and big issues impacting the world today. Our reporting on humanitarian aid has uncovered sex scandals, scams, data breaches, corruption, and much more. Our readers trust us to hold power in the multi-billion-dollar aid sector able and to amplify the voices of those impacted by crises. We keep our journalism free — no paywalls — thanks to the support of donors and readers like you who believe we need more independent journalism in the world.
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