Friday, 4 September 2015

Centrafrique: UN Peacekeepers Sex Abuse of Children

Central African Republic or Centrafrique in French has been in the news as frequently as it was two years ago. The fratricidal war that displaced over millions of civilians from women and babies to the elderly, has left deeply traumatized people in its wake. The main rebel groups the Anti-Balaka and Seleka committed acts of ethnic cleansing, vendettas and harassed fleeing internally displaced Central Africans and refugees fleeing across the borders. As they fought each other for control of the capital Bangui and political power, civilians continued to fled not comfortable in their hometowns rather it be Bangui or the countryside where fighting continues in a low intensity skirmishes.

The situation in Central African Republic

France and a smaller UN peacekeeper force were requested to deploy to Centrafrique to aid the national army in bringing back calm to Bangui and regions, Not all Central Africans were happy and applauding the arrival of French troops under Operation Sanguis. France wasn't just intervening on humanitarian grounds. Centrafrique happens to have crucial resources that France needs. The African Union troops arrived to mixed feelings from Central Africans in the months after the coup against the former President Francois Bozaize. AU and French troops did little to halt the violence against civilians by the Seleka and Anti-Balaka. Despite signing peace agreements, Centrafrique is still not entirely peaceful. The social cohesion that once held CAR together is still pulling the country apart. Hundreds of thousands of Central African Muslims are IDPs, refugees or are rightfully worried about returning to their former hometowns and are anxious around their old Christian and indigenous religious neighbors. Likewise, Christians and indigenous Central Africans are weary of the future long after the peacekeepers leave.

Outrage in C.A.R. over UN Peacekeeper abuses against children CCTV News

One of the deeply scarring consequences of war and chaos, the same peacekeepers, French and African are now being condemned for sexually abusing and raping children. This isn't the first time UN peacekeepers have been accused of sexually abusing children. In Haiti several years ago, Uruguayan UN peacekeepers part of the MINUSTAH Occupation, were accused of assaulting a young Haitian man. Embarrassed by the accusation, the Uruguayan President Jose Mujica ordered the Uruguayans leave Haiti. Eventually, Uruguayan soldiers involved apologized. The Haitian man's family did not let the peacekeepers get away with their alleged crime and pressed the peacekeeping unit to face charges. In short practice the same law that it preaches to Haiti and other countries it intervenes in. Other blue helmets in other war torn countries have equally been accused and confirmed to have engaged in sex for food with local women. Haitian women are also holding blue helmets responsible for sexual exploitation and support for children born from peacekeepers. Rebel groups and government troops are also accused of abuse and violence. Back to CAR. It is well known that from CAR to South Sudan that peacekeepers sent to protect civilians have sadly been responsible for causing desperate civilians unending pain and humiliation. It happens in many conflict struck countries including CAR and Syria. Central African children continue to be the victims of violence and murder by armed groups. They are forcibly conscripted  into the respective rebel groups against alongside adults their will even when family members intervene. The living hell the rebel forces have put the children in is not nearly done. As the evidence is gathered and investigated it will take months to find if the UN can survive another sex abuse scandal.

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