UN Secretary General calls urgent meeting to tackle sexual abuse in peacekeeping missions

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressing sexual abuse claims Wednesday in New York UN.Photo/Eskinder Debebe

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressing sexual abuse claims Wednesday in New York UN.Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon is due to convene a special UN Security Council session to decisively address the “global scourge” of sexual abuse in the organisation’s missions around the world.

The developments comes hours after the UN Envoy in the Central African Republic (CAR) and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA), Babacar Gaye was sacked following allegations he mishandled sex abuse cases against the peacekeepers in his command.

Also earlier this week, Amnesty International released a scathing report implicating MINUSCA in civilian killings and sex assault.

“Our evidence strongly suggests that a UN peacekeeper raped a young girl and that UN peacekeeping forces indiscriminately killed two civilians (In the CAR),” Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser, Amnesty International said.

In response to these damning allegations the UN boss was quoted as saying “I cannot put into words how anguished, angered and ashamed I am by recurrent reports over the years of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN forces,” Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York.

A visibly infuriated Ki-moon stated “when the United Nations deploys peacekeepers, we do so to protect the world’s most vulnerable people in the world’s most desperate places” adding “I will not tolerate any action that causes people to replace trust with fear.”

During Thursday’s special session Ban Ki-moon is expected to convene a video conference with his Special Representatives, Force Commanders and Police Commissioners in peacekeeping missions around the world to stress the urgency of stamping out sex assault.

The UN Secretary General has also appealed to more victims to come forward and tell their ordeals.

The UN has 10,000 peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, the force was deployed in the conflict-ravaged state last year to try and restore peace.

Turmoil broke out in the country in 2013 when Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, prompting religious tensions. About 450,000 people have been displaced by the conflict.