Probes of child abuse in Central African Republic should intensify: U.N. rights chief
The United Nations human rights chief on Saturday urged several countries to intensify their investigations of alleged sexual abuse of young children in the Central African Republic by French and African soldiers posted in the conflict-torn nation.
A 6-page internal U.N. report obtained by Reuters detailed the alleged abuse by troops from France, Chad and Equatorial Guinea between December 2013 and June 2014 at a center for displaced people at M’Poko airport in the Central African Republic capital, Bangui.
Central African Republic: After militias hacked community apart with machetes, Bangui starts to rebuild
Three words come up in any conversation among Bangui’s residents about the state of their city: “le cinq Decembre”. That was the day, 5 December 2013, when the capital of the Central African Republic was ripped apart by fighting between Muslim and Christian militias.
Bangui’s Christians and Muslims had long worked, studied and traded together. But nine months earlier, the Seleka, a mostly Muslim coalition, had swept into the country and forced the then-President François Bozizé into exile. On that day in December, Christian militias known as the anti-balaka (“anti-machete”) launched an assault to drive the Seleka back out of the city, triggering months of sectarian warfare.
Child sex abuse claims shake United Nations
The boys said they approached the French soldiers because they were hungry. Some were so young they didn’t quite understand the acts the soldiers demanded in return. One boy, 8 or 9 years old, said he did it several times to the same soldier, “until one day an older kid saw him and told him what he was doing was bad.”
Another boy, 9, said he thought the soldiers had been urinating.
U.N. investigators heard such stories of sexual abuse from several boys in May and June 2014 in Central African Republic, where French soldiers were protecting a sprawling displaced persons camp in the conflict-torn capital, Bangui.