Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

In the News: #predatorypeacekeepers

This week's In the News was collated by Media Diversified's #predatorypeacekeepers campaign

When African children's lives matter, perhaps ours will too by Guilaine Kinouani

A few weeks ago, the AIDS-Free World's Code Blue campaign, a Canadian AIDS charity, published a damming report which contained some highly troubling allegations. The charity alleged that UN and French troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) had sexually abused at least 98 girls.

Amongst the victims, three girls were alleged to have been tied up and forced to have sex with a dog. One of the victims subsequently died. Even more disturbingly, it has been alleged that many of the abuses were orchestrated by a French General. Such revelations are not new. Sadly.

Allegations of sexual misconduct by UN soldiers have long been reported and documented in most of the 16 countries in which UN troops have been in operation. However, what seems striking in relation to the abuses in CAR, is the involvement of senior officers in allegedly masterminding the abuses and, that the majority of the victims here, are children. ...

The devastating irony of calling UN troops 'peacekeepers' by Ruby Hamad

Peacekeepers. The term conjures up images of the proverbial 'good guys' selflessly guarding vulnerable populations. So proud is the UN of its Blue Helmets, as they are also known, that May 29 is International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

But this year activists are demanding something a little different in terms of celebrations: accountability and prosecutions for the hundreds of UN troops who have committed sexual assaults. So prevalent are these abuses they have spawned the hashtag #PredatoryPeacekeepers.

In March, the UN was rocked by revelations that, along with French troops, its peacekeepers stationed in the Central African Republic (CAR) had sexually abused dozens of local girls.

According to a report by the AIDS-Free World's Code Blue Campaign, at least 98 girls were targeted, with four reportedly forced to perform sex acts with a dog by a French Commander. In a separate incident, a mother accused a Congolese UN peacekeeper of raping her 16-year-old daughter in a hotel room. ...

The UN must smash the culture of impunity that lets peacekeepers get away with child abuse  by Samantha Asumadu and Guilaine Kinouani

Three weeks ago, a Canadian AIDS charity published a report containing some stunning allegations. The report stated that UN and French troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) were accused of sexually abusing at least 98 girls. The harrowing details include three girls being tied up and raped.  It has been alleged that some abuses were orchestrated by a French Genera,l and that one of victims subsequently died.

These revelations call the presence of French Troops in CAR into question. But they also raise more systemic questions about how the UN investigates and deals with sexual misconduct by the forces it stations in conflict zones – because sadly, this is far from the first time. ...

The UN’s Good vs. Bad Narrative Clears the Way for Sexual Violence and Impunity by Maya Goodfellow

A Blue Helmet’s job is, quite literally, to keep the peace. The UN peacekeepers whose nickname comes from their characteristic headwear, are supposed to protect people in countries torn apart by war. However a steady drip of accusations coming out of the Central African Republic (CAR) suggests it’s Blue Helmets who are the threat to civilian safety.

Three girls in the CAR have told a harrowing tale, in which a French peacekeeper tied them up, along with their friend, stripped them and then forced them to have sex with a dog. This sickening abuse of power is not isolated. Soldiers from France, Gabon, and Burundi have allegedly committed atrocious acts of sexual abuse against women and girls in the CAR. Just last year, peacekeepers reportedly forced refugee children to perform sex acts on them, telling them it was the only way they’d receive food.

The UN mission, which goes by its French acronym MINUSCA, went into the CAR in 2014 with the aim of protecting civilians after a coup d’etat: soldiers and staff have done the opposite. The allegations against MINUSCA are piling up; in the three short months since we saw in 2016, 25 separate accounts have been lodged against peacekeepers. ...

Why the World Needs a UN Leader Who Stands Up for Human Rights by Anna Neistat

Last August, Balla Hadji, a 61-year-old truck driver in Bangui in the Central African Republic, was having breakfast with his wife when they heard shots outside. He ran out to call his daughter inside, but troops were already there, and shot him in the back as he ran away. His 16-year-old son, Souleimane, was also shot when he ran towards his father. Balla died on the spot, his son Souleimane the next day.

The soldiers were neither armed groups nor government forces; they wore the famous blue helmet and vest of United Nations (UN) peacekeepers. Witnesses told Amnesty International that instead of helping the wounded father and son, the peacekeepers - who were meant to protect them - fired another round when the daughter tried to cross the street to reach her injured relatives.

What happened to an organization meant to protect and give voice to the world’s most vulnerable people? This is a question that candidates to succeed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon must address in the process that started at the UN General Assembly earlier this month. In the coming months governments will select the UN’s next leader - who will take up their post in 2017. ...

UN crackdown on predatory peacekeepers is overdue: Editorial - The Star

It’s hard to imagine a worse betrayal — United Nations peacekeepers raping, abusing and exploiting women and children under their protection. Yet it’s a festering, growing problem. For years the UN has wrung its hands impotently as countries turned a blind eye.

Apart from Canada, which gave a police officer in Haiti a token nine-day suspension for sexually exploiting someone last year, there’s no record of a UN peacekeeper being disciplined in 2015 for sexual abuse offences. Yet the UN documented 69 such cases last year, and 25 more this year.

Despite UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for “decisive, bold action,” and a decade of so-called “zero tolerance,” the scourge persists. Countries whose troops commit the gravest of crimes have chosen to look the other way. ...

#PredatoryPeacekeepers campaign interview with David Wardrop UN Peacekeepers conference

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