donderdag, juni 11, 2015

Report: U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti had ‘transactional sex’ with hundreds of poor women

¨Jouw moeder danste de Hockey Pokey ¨

UNITED Nations peacekeepers sexually abused hundreds of vulnerable Haitian women and girls desperate for food and medication, an explosive new investigation has revealed.
A draft report by the Office of Internal Oversight Service, which audits the UN, found peacekeepers engaged in “transactional sex” with more than 225 women and girls in the stricken Caribbean country.
Investigators interviewed 231 people in Haiti a year ago who said they’d had sex with UN peacekeepers for emergency supplies.
“For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the ‘triggering need’,” the report said.
Urban and suburban women received “church shoes”, mobile phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money.
“In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media,” the report said
“Only seven interviewees knew about the United Nations policy prohibiting sexual exploitation and abuse.”

Het verhaal van de aal 
None of the women knew about the mission’s hotline for reporting abuse and exploitation.
Each of those instances of “transactional sex”, the report said, would be considered prohibited conduct under UN guidelines, “thus demonstrating significant underreporting” of sexual abuse.
It was not clear how many peacekeepers were involved.
The bombshell report, obtained by The Associated Press, also found that about a third of alleged sexual abuse involved girls aged under 18, with assistance to victims “severely deficient.”
The draft report doesn’t say over what time frame the “transactional sex” in Haiti occurred.

The peacekeeping mission there was first authorised in 2004 and, as of the end of March, had more than 7000 uniformed troops.
Haiti has been devastated by a string of major disasters, including floods in 2004 which caused thousands of deaths and a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010 which killed more than 222,000.
The Haiti mission is one of four peacekeeping missions that have accounted for the most allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in recent years, along with those in Congo, Liberia and South Sudan.
One of the UN staffers who produced the report would not comment, saying it was better to wait until it was released publicly.
A spokesman for the peacekeeping office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
An average investigation by OIOS, which prioritises cases involving minors or rape, takes more than a year.
They look at the way UN peacekeeping, which has about 125,000 people in some of the world’s most troubled areas, deals with the persistent problem of sexual abuse and exploitation.
The report, expected to be released this month, says major challenges remain a decade after a groundbreaking UN report first tackled the issue.
One of the problems is that sexual exploitation remains significantly underreported in such missions.
The UN doesn’t have a standing army and relies on troops contributed by member states.
The states are responsible for investigating alleged misconduct by their troops, though the UN can step in if there’s no action.
In their response to the report’s findings, which is included in the draft, UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous and field support chief Atul Khare point out that while the number of peacekeepers has increased dramatically over the past decade, the number of allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation have gone down.
For all of last year, the total number of allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation against members of all UN peacekeeping missions was 51, down from 66 the year before, according to the secretary-general’s latest annual report on the issue.
The UN prohibits “exchange of money, employment, goods or services for sex,” and it strongly discourages sexual relationships between UN staff and people who receive their assistance, saying they are “based on inherently unequal power dynamics” and undermine the world body’s credibility.

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