New allegations of UN sexual abuse in Haiti

Peacekeepers and UN police 'exploited' children in separate cases, and an aid worker is found guilty of pedophilia.

    Numerous allegations of sexual abuse of children have arisen over the past years by UN troops in Haiti [Al Jazeera]

    The UN has begun an investigation into two new allegations of UN police abuse and "sexual exploitation" of children in Haiti, Martin Nesirky, a UN spokesperson, said.

    One case involves UN police officers in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, Nesirky said on Monday.

    Those officers have been removed from duty while under investigation, he added.

    The second case involves one or more members of a police unit in the northern city of Gonaives.

    Nesirky did not release the nationalities of the police or provide any other details.

    "The United Nations is outraged by these allegations and takes its responsibilities to deal with them extremely seriously," Nesirky said.

    He said the UN mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, had informed UN leadership in New York of the two allegations of "sexual exploitation and abuse involving minors" on January 16.

    Earlier allegations

    The new charges of abuse come just months after six Uruguayan UN troops in the Caribbean country were accused of raping a young Haitian man and recording the incident on a cell phone camera.

    That case has been referred to the Uruguayan judicial system.

    Nesirky said that while home countries discipline military members of Peacekeeping missions, the UN disciplines police officers.

    Allegations of abuse have dogged UN peacekeeping missions since their inception over 50 years ago.

    The issue was thrust into the spotlight after the United Nations found in early 2005 that Peacekeepers in Congo had sex with Congolese women and girls, usually in exchange for food or small sums of money.

    The UN Peacekeeping department instituted a "zero tolerance" policy toward sexual abuse, a new code of conduct for its more than 110,000 Peacekeepers deployed around the world, and new training for officers and all UN personnel.

    Nonetheless, allegations of sexual abuse persist.

    German guilty of pedophilia

    Also on Monday, a German court found a 58-year-old man guilty of repeatedly sexually abusing minors while serving as an aid-worker in Haiti.

    German news agency DPA reported that Landshut state court sentenced the man, whose name was not released, to 4.5 years in prison.

    Police last year detained the head of a small Berlin-based aid organisation as he attempted to smuggle one of his victims, a then 11-year-old boy from Haiti, into Germany.

    The boy is now being raised by a German family.

    Authorities say the man had traveled several times to Haiti where he was involved in projects to help street children.
    The DPA reports that prosecutors had sought a prison term of almost six years. The court's verdict could be appealed.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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