UN chief in CAR: Peacekeepers accused of sexual abuse

Correction: A previous version of this story cited human rights activists as saying that the United Nations is not doing enough to prosecute French peacekeeping soldiers who have been accused of rape and sexual abuse in the Central African Republic. This appeared to suggest that the French troops were part of a UN peacekeeping force in that country. In actual fact, they had been deployed by the French army and the responsibility for the prosecution of those facing accusations lies with the French armed forces.

Human rights groups believe several children in the Central African Republic (CAR) were raped in 2013-2014 by French soldiers who were there to protect them.

Some were forced to have sex with dogs and even took pictures of the act.

France opened an investigation, but prosecutors later dropped the cases saying there was not enough evidence to charge the soldiers involved.

The French troops left CAR in late 2016. Since, the violence and the displacement of people has intensified.

It’s left to the UN peacekeepers to bring back stability to this country, with one mandate: protecting the civilian population.

But a UN investigation revealed that some peacekeepers in CAR are violating their mandate and sexually abusing girls.

Human rights groups fear there are many cases of sexual abuse by soldiers that go unreported.

Antonio Guterres, the new UN secretary-general, says he has zero tolerance for abuse.

The UN is also investigating cases and putting measures in place to prevent this from happening again. But so far, no one has been arrested or charged.

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports.