Thursday, 22 February, 2018

United Nations peacekeepers run child sex racket in Haiti

Melinda Barton | 20 April, 2017, 06:47

This week, the Associated Press reported that at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers repeatedly sexually abused nine Haitian children as part of a sex ring from 2004 to 2007.

United Nations missions in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan also have been hit by a wave of sex abuse allegations involving their peacekeepers.

Haley was speaking after the Security Council voted unanimously to end the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti in mid-October, sending a strong signal that the worldwide community believes the impoverished Caribbean nation is stabilizing after successful elections.

The U.S. Envoy's appeal came after an Associated Press investigation into a child sex ring in Haiti found that United Nations peacekeepers including over 100 Sri Lankan troops allegedly sexually exploited vulnerable women and children in Haiti.

The New York Times noted that Haley did not address the cholera outbreak, nor how the United Nations plans to raise the funds to compensate survivors.

Some of the peacekeepers in the Sri Lankan contingent were based near the former resort. Over a period of three years, beginning when she was 12 years old, she was forced to have sex with over 50 peacekeepers, the AP said.

Janila Jean said she was a 16-year-old virgin when a Brazilian peacekeeper lured her to a United Nations compound three years ago with a smear of peanut butter on bread, raped her at gunpoint and left her pregnant.

The closure of the $346 million mission, recommended by U.N. chief Antonio Guterres, comes as the United States looks to cut its funding to U.N. peacekeeping.

The UN mission in Haiti has been gripped by various controversies over the past years, including accusations by locals that it introduced cholera in 2010, which has led to at least 9,500 deaths in the country.

The United States is now reviewing the U.N.'s 16 far-flung peacekeeping operations to assess costs and effectiveness.

Sri Lanka's defence secretary, Karunasena Hettiarachchi, said: "People are quite happy and comfortable with the peacekeepers".

Some of the Sri Lankan soldiers would teach the children Sinhalese, the native language of Sri Lanka so they could pick up on "sexual innuendo". More than 300 of the allegations involved children. "The high price of this food was sexual abuse", she said. "One boy was gang-raped in 2011 by peacekeepers who disgustingly filmed it on a cellphone", Haley told the council.

"One hears many rumors about people in the organized crime sector who are close to those in power and are pushing the administration to undermine the police", said Pierre Esperance, director of the National Network of Defense of Human Rights.