‘Wall’ of religious hatred divides Central African town
The outbreak of violence that plunged the Central African Republic into chaos in 2013 has left a legacy of suspicion, fear and hatred that still plagues places like the southern mining town of Boda.”There’s an invisible wall. It’s as if we’re in prison,” says Bouburori Bindowo, deputy mayor of the town of around 11,000 people, whose Muslim residents, of whom he is one, live segregated from the often hostile Christian majority.
The violence erupted after the 2013 coup that ousted president Francois Bozize and pushed the country into a conflict that took on an unprecedented religious dimension, pitting sections of Christian and Muslim populations against one another.
Allegations Against French Peacekeepers Highlight Obstacles in Addressing Abuse
“Petit, viens,” — little boy, come here — a French soldier called out at a checkpoint in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic.
For five months, an unknown number of people in the French forces, sent to protect civilians from the violence tearing the country apart, forced boys to perform oral sex on them, according to testimonies collected by the United Nations. The boys, aged 9 to 15, said they had sometimes been lured with the promise of military rations.
Now, nearly a year after the allegations came to light, no one has been charged, let alone punished.
New York Times
UN officials let claims of child sex abuse by French soldiers linger for months
For months, the UN’s top human rights officials knew about allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic, collected by their own staff. But they didn’t follow up because they assumed French authorities were handling it, statements marked “strictly confidential” show, even as France pressed the UN for more information about the case.
In a signed statement obtained by The Associated Press, the deputy high commissioner for human rights also says that her colleague who first informed French authorities last July did it because he didn’t think the recently created UN peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic would act on the allegations.
A year after the UN first heard allegations from children as young as 9 that French soldiers had sexually abused them, sometimes in exchange for food, it seems that the only person who has been punished is the UN staffer who told French authorities.