The United Nations (UN) is embroiled in a fresh row involving its peacekeepers serving in Minusca mission, accused of sexually abusing four minor girls in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR).

There has been a growing concern about the scale of the problem following similar cases of rape and sexual abuse of young children in conflict zones.

According to reports, the UN has promised to descend heavily on the offenders. Minusca mission chief, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, told The Guardian: “We have come to this country to help a population which is already traumatised. It is absolutely unacceptable for even a single peacekeeping soldier to be involved in these awful acts”.

“Where there is doubt we will take the side of the victims,”

“the sanctions will be strong when we have established who is responsible,” Onanga-Anyanga said.

UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, fired the head of Minusca force last year over growing cases of abuse Photo: United Nations

UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, fired the head of Minusca force last year over growing cases of abuse Photo: United Nations

The troops are being accused of rape, sexual exploitation and transactional sex with the underage girls.

The rape and sexual abuse of women and children is a common occurrence, which has been well documented. Minusca soldiers have previously been accused of sexual abuse.

In a report, which documented cases of sexual abuse, it emerged that French peacekeeping troops raped and sodomised starving and vulnerable young boys in 2014. The UN was heavily criticised for its failure to stop the reported prevalent abuse of young boys by French forces.

While its well-known that rape and other forms of sexual violence against children are gross violations of international human rights law, these acts continue to occur, often with impunity.

Rights campaigners continue to call for the protection of children and respect of their rights, urging authorities to act on perpetrators of sexual violence. The Human Rights Watch has in the past called troops to be “vetted” prior to serving in UN missions to prevent rights abusers from serving.

Source: The Guardian