Author Topic: Sex Abuse Charges Against Un Peacekeepers  (Read 10002 times)

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Offline jujyjuji

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Sex Abuse Charges Against Un Peacekeepers
« on: May 07, 2015, 15:52:28 PM »
Sex Abuse Charges Against Un Peacekeepers
Origin   Embassy Khartoum (Sudan)
Cable time   Mon, 8 Jan 2007 17:02 UTC
Classification   CONFIDENTIAL
References   07KHARTOUM18

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/08/2017
     ¶B. STATE 0993
Classified By: CDA C. Hume, Reason: Section 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1.  (U) After a UK newspaper reported that UN Mission in
Sudan (UNMIS) personnel engaged in sexual exploitation of
children, the UN confirmed that four Bangladeshi peacekeepers
had been repatriated over the charges and that their cases
will be pursued in Bangladesh.  The UN also confirmed that
there are 13 ongoing investigations of serious misconduct,
"including sexual exploitation and abuse."  Government of
Southern Sudan (GOSS) officials expressed outrage over the
allegations, and the fact that UNMIS did not inform them of
the problem earlier.  GOSS officials, and some independent
observers, also question the timing of the press report,
which they believe was intended to discredit the UN.  The
Khartoum-based Government of National Unity (GNU) seized the
opportunity to bash the UN and sanctioned a public
demonstration over the abuse allegations in Khartoum January
¶8.  The GNU's outrage apparently does not extend to
allegations of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) involvement in sexual
abuse of children in the south.  UNMIS and other UN agencies
in southern Sudan are reviewing and beefing up their existing
program to combat sexual abuse.  End Summary.
Press Reports Spark Angry Response
¶2.  (U) The UK's Daily Telegraph reported January 2 that it
had gathered accounts from more than 20 children in Juba,
southern Sudan, describing prostitution and other sexual
abuse by UNMIS military and civilian personnel.  The report
added that the Sudanese government in Khartoum had video
footage of Bangladeshi UN personnel having sex with three
young girls.  The newspaper story cited what it called a
draft internal report by the United Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF) in July 2005 detailing UN sexual offenses.  Since
the Daily Telegraph report, other media have published
similar allegations, including a British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC) account describing UN solicitation of child
prostitutes in Juba and mixed-race children abandoned by
their UN peacekeeper fathers.
¶3.  (U) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, on only his second
day in office, quickly issued a statement reiterated the UN's
"zero tolerance" policy toward sexual abuse--"meaning zero
complacency and zero impunity."  The statement said the UN
was "looking into the substance of the press reports to
determine if the allegations are new or are existing cases
already under investigation."  A UN spokesperson later
revealed that UNMIS had "already repatriated four
peacekeepers from Bangladesh" in connection with the
allegations, and said there were 13 ongoing investigations of
serious misconduct, "including sexual misconduct and abuse."
¶4.  (C) GOSS officials were outraged over the reports.
Minister of Presidential Affairs Luca Biong vowed that "if
any persons are proved to have committed these terrible
crimes, the government will take all possible steps to ensure
the perpetrators are brought to justice."  GOSS Minister of
Gender Mary Kiden Kimbo summoned UNMIS and UNICEF officials
for a tongue-lashing and demanded full disclosure of all
complaints against UN personnel.  She had learned of these
charges only through the media, Kiden told us, and was not
aware of the reported 13 ongoing investigations until
informed by ConGen staff.  Kiden later called on members of
the public to come forward with any additional information
about sexual misbehavior by UN personnel.
Questions on the Substance
And Timing of Allegations
¶5.  (C) GOSS officials nevertheless question both the
substance and the timing of the Daily Telegraph report.
Research on the story was apparently finished long ago, Kiden
told us.  She had been interviewed for the story in March
2006 and told the journalist truthfully that she was aware of
no specific allegations against UN personnel.  UNMIS regional
coordinator James Ellery, interviewed in May 2006, told the
journalist UNMIS had investigated allegations against its
personnel and found no substantiating evidence.  Ellery
KHARTOUM 00000031  002 OF 002
departed Sudan last October.  The July 2005 UNICEF report
cited in the newspaper story was issued before the GOSS was
formed, Kiden pointed out indignantly.  (The Daily Telegraph
asserted that GOSS failed to investigate the charges because
of concern over maintaining good relations with the UN.)
¶6.  (C) CDA raised the issue of sexual abuse with Deputy
Special Representative of the Secretary General (DSRSG) for
the United Nations (UN) in Sudan Manuel Aranda d,Silva
January 5 (Ref. A).  D'Silva said many of the allegations in
the article were false, and claimed that the January 3
release was timed to coincide with the swearing in of the new
UNSYG.  An independent Sudanese newspaper has speculated that
the GNU leaked the information to undermine current efforts
to deploy UN peacekeeping force to Darfur.
¶7.  (C) ConGen staff examined the July 2005 "UNICEF report"
quoted by Daily Telegraph.  Though identified as the work of
a "UNICEF Child Protection Consultant," the document is in
fact a three-page summary of the consultant's findings
drafted by UNMIS, according Juba-based UNICEF personnel.  In
two short paragraphs the document cites the possibility that
UN staff "may be involved in sexual exploitation," and
recounts a single instance in which a UN vehicle was reported
seen picking up three young girls at night.  The remainder of
the document includes far more detailed allegations against
members of the Khartoum-based Sudan Armed Forces (SAF),
including child abduction, child prostitution, and the
abandonment of girlfriends and children.  It is unclear why
those allegations are not mentioned in the article.
¶8.  (C) UNICEF personnel believe this report has been shared
with the GNU, and that the GNU is aware of allegations of
misbehavior by SAF forces.  (They add that GOSS is also
likely aware of misbehavior by the southern-based Sudan
People's Liberation Army (SPLA), and that neither government
is taking effective action to prevent child exploitation by
its forces.)  The GNU sanctioned a public demonstration
against the UN over the sex abuse scandal in downtown
Khartoum January 8.  The demonstration ended without incident.
Next Steps
¶9.  (U) GOSS and UN investigations of reports in the Daily
Telegraph and other media are underway, but in early stages.
UNMIS personnel receive training on the UN code of conduct
prior to deployment, the Sector 1 commander told us January
¶5.  That training will be reinforced immediately, he said.
UNICEF staff say that all UN personnel in southern Sudan are
briefed on the "zero tolerance" policy, and posters against
sexual exploitation figure prominently in UNMIS and other UN
offices in Juba.  Since mid-2005, UN personnel have been
banned from two locations in Juba believed to be frequented
by prostitutes.  Neither the Sector 1 commander nor other UN
personnel in Sudan appear to know whether the four deported
Bangladeshi peacekeepers are in fact facing criminal charges
in their native country.  UNMIS has promised much closer
cooperation with GNU and GOSS in ongoing investigations of
specific cases of alleged abuse, and GOSS officials say they
will continue public outreach and increase their own
monitoring of UN behavior.  Finally, Bangladeshi peacekeepers
in southern Sudan have been confined to barracks after dark
until further notice.