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January 10, 2005

UN Peacekeepers Exploited Congolese Girls and Women

In horrific news abroad, UN Peacekeepers continue to exploit Congolese girls and women, using girls as young as thirteen as prostitutes. From the AP via USAT:

United Nations peacekeepers in Congo sexually exploited women and girls, some as young as 13, a U.N. watchdog office said Friday in a new confirmation that efforts to curb abuses by U.N. troops are not working.

Peacekeepers regularly had sex with Congolese women and girls, usually in exchange for food or small sums of money, investigators from the world body's Office of Internal Oversight Services found.

"We have had and continue to have a serious problem of sexual exploitation and abuse," William Lacy Swing, the United Nations' special representative to Congo, said at a news conference.

Emphasis added.

Part of the problem is that the UN has no authority over peacekeepers: they are only subject to the laws of their own countries. This is disgusting and the world should not continue to accept these atrocities.

The Congo is a dangerous place - genocide perpetrators from Rwanda continue to ravage part of the country. The Congolese should be able to see UN Peacekeepers as shelters from the storm of violence. The situation is completely unacceptable.

Posted by cj at January 10, 2005 3:47 PM

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