The Associated Press has reported that U.S. Advocacy group, AIDS-Free World says that 98 girls from the Central African Republic were sexually abused by U.N. international peacekeepers. Three girls reported that a French military forced them and one other girl (who later died of an unknown disease) to be tied down, undressed, and have sex with a dog.
Last May, AIDS-Free World launched the Blue Code Campaign, which is meant to end sexual assault and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and to also prevent them from being immune to their crimes.
Earlier this week, the group sent out a press release, saying that the case had been taken to the higher ups of the United Nations and was now in their hands.
“Sources have informed AIDS-Free World’s Code Blue campaign that the following information, based on newly received allegations of sexual abuse committed as recently as this week and as far back as 2013, is in the hands of the UN’s senior leadership…
“Two weeks ago, UNICEF interviewed 98 girls in a province of the Central African Republic (CAR) who reported that they had been sexually abused by international peacekeepers… During that visit, three victims interviewed by a MINUSCA Human Rights Officer reported that in 2014, they and a fourth girl were tied up and undressed inside a camp by a military commander from the Sangaris force (the French military intervention in CAR) and forced to have sex with a dog. Each girl was then given 5000 Central African Francs (<USD $9).”
While it is so important that the Blue Code Campaign exists, especially given the current situation involving close to 100 girls, I am appalled that such a campaign for this type of situation exists.
A campaign that is determined to make sure U.N. peacekeepers receive justice for their crimes, especially crimes on the people they are sent to protect and help, should not exist because the United Nations should be giving out justice for such crimes to start with.
When almost 100 girls are saying similar things and speaking about similar experiences, there is an issue. A heavy and more thorough investigation is needed, but even so, the peacekeepers and military all involved deserved to be removed from their positions.
It is upsetting that peacekeepers are meant to do exactly what their namesake says and they end up going to these places instead and do the opposite of what they are supposed to do. These are young girls are being taken advantage of by men in positions of power who are meant to be helping and it is important that the men pay the price for the sexual abuse.