General Babacar Gaye, seen here in Syria in August 2012, has resigned as head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic over his handling of sexual and other misconduct allegations.

General Babacar Gaye, seen here in Syria in August 2012, has resigned as head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic over his handling of sexual and other misconduct allegations.
Photo Credit: Salman Muzaffar/AP Photo/file

A firing over UN sex abuse not enough, says group

The United Nations fired the head of its peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic over allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers. There have been reports of abuse by military and civilian personnel in several countries.

‘A monumental failure of leadership’

The firing does not go far enough for AIDS Free World, a group co-founded by Canada’s former ambassador to the UN, Stephen Lewis. It has campaigned hard for action on alleged sexual abuse by peacekeepers and issued a news release blasting what it called a “monumental failure of leadership and appalling mismanagement” at UN headquarters.

“We’re certainly pleased to see that there is forward movement and tangible action is being taken by the secretary-general. We think it’s necessary, but inadequate,” says Paula Donovan, co-founder of AIDS Free World. “It’s a first step and other people certainly have to be held to account as well—people at the very top of the UN system and in the Central African Republic beyond Mr. Gaye.”

Listen

UN head ‘anguished’ and ‘ashamed’

In his own resignation letter, General Babacar Gaye said the issue of sexual abuse “could be a systemic problem warranting consideration at the highest level of the organization.” He added that he had taken a “very robust stand” against misconduct and that “many” peacekeepers had been sent home.

“I cannot put into words how anguished and angered and ashamed I am by recurrent reports over the years of sex abuse and exploitation by U.N. forces,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

UN peacekeeping missions have been tainted by allegations of sex abuse by military and civilian staff in several countries.
UN peacekeeping missions have been tainted by allegations of sex abuse by military and civilian staff in several countries. © Sylvain Liechti/UN

 Firings would prove ‘zero tolerance’

Ban was to meet today with the heads of all peacekeeping missions to talk about their responsibilities. Donovan says he can go further: “The minute an allegation of sexual abuse is brought to the fore, not only should it be reported rather than supressed by the United Nations, but the secretary-general should take action against the force commander and secretary-general’s special representative in that country and say…

“‘If the people that you are managing and supervising are turning into predators then your management is faulty and you should be resigning within moments.’ That would send a clear message throughout the whole UN system and to all the troop-contributing countries and others that when the secretary-general says he has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse that truly means zero. That doesn’t mean there is any leeway whatsoever.”

57 allegations of misconduct in CAR

The firing of Gaye came a day after Amnesty International accused peacekeepers of indiscriminately killing a teenager and his father and raping a 12-year-old girl this month. Medecins Sans Frontieres says it treated the girl and three others who reported sexual abuse. Ban’s spokesman said the UN force has faced 57 allegations of misconduct including 11 of possible sexual abuse in Central African Republic since April 2014.

AIDS Free World alleges peacekeepers have traded food for sex with women and minors, and that sexual abuse is rampant in UN peacekeeping missions in several countries.

Call for an external investigation

United Nations member countries should demand a well-resourced, external and independent investigation into all allegations of misconduct by peacekeepers, say Donovan.  “The entire system needs to be subjected to a truly external review by what is essentially the board of directors of the UN, that is the member states themselves.”

Posted in International, Military, Politics, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “A firing over UN sex abuse not enough, says group
  1. Karen Haines says:

    As I have mentioned on another post: We need an influx of female U.N. peacekeepers all over the world. Women from all backgrounds should be recruited, including displaced female refugees with families to protect. Refugee camps need to be run by women (mostly) and select men who have the courage to face hostility without loosing their humanity. Not everyone is brave enough for this kind of specialized work.