UN Peacekeepers have been raping children in the Central African Republic.
MINUSCA, the mission resulting in nearly a hundred allegations of child sexual abuse, gave soldiers the mandate “to protect civilians and support transition processes” following the devastation of war.
Instead, numerous Blue Helmets have used their position as an opportunity to engage in acts of rape and paedophilia. This abuse of power is no secret: it first emerged over a year ago. In fact, it is so widespread that the United Nations was subject to an independent report “on the Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by International Peace Keeping Forces.”
In exchange for the assistance they were deployed in order to provide, in exchange for basic necessities such as food and water, UN soldiers have been sexually exploiting children. The Blue Helmets attacked the very people they were sent to protect. Children as young as 7 have been targeted, with a girl forced to perform “oral sex on French soldiers in exchange for a bottle of water and a sachet of cookies.”
Three girls reported being stripped, tied up, and forced to engage in bestiality with a dog by a French military commander.
The brutality of this systematic child sexual abuse is entirely at odds with the humanitarian values the UN claims to uphold. Yet UN troops have a history of exploiting people in communities shattered by war and natural disaster, an institutional failure which is yet to see any meaningful resolution. From the international powers-that-be down to right-on liberals, many a blind eye has been turned.
The Predatory Peacekeepers campaign aims to end this abuse, and the culture that enables it, by forcing the world to sit up and take notice: to acknowledge that the soldiers positioned as “good guys” are too often perpetuating the worst sort of crimes against humanity, that Black African children are worthy of care and protection, that a laissez-faire attitude towards a system enabling child sexual abuse is what allows it to continue unchallenged.
Spearheaded by Samantha Asumadu and Guilaine Kinouani, the petition demands that the UN hold soldiers to account for the rape and abuse of children, with culprits fully investigated and prosecuted.
Having all French troops withdrawn from the CAR, the recommendations from the report on Peacekeepers’ abuses implemented by the UN, and action taken to care for and support the victims are the campaign’s core objectives.
At the time of writing, the petition has reached just over 8,400 signatures.
To put this in perspective, over 73,000 people have signed a petition for a statue of a suffragette in Parliament Square. The petition aiming to change dress code laws so that British women can no longer be forced to wear high heels to work has over 141,000 signatories. Both are worthy campaigns, certainly.
Yet both have received significantly more media coverage and public outcry than child sex abuse in the CAR. Where is the outrage over their exploitation? Where is our collective conscience?
Are people silent because the victims are black? It is impossible to imagine such mass indifference were the victims blonde and blue-eyed.
Is it because the children are African? Since they are at a distance, the atrocities carried out against these children are perhaps easier to disregard.
The humanity of these children has been overlooked not only by the Peacekeepers who violated them, but by every last person prepared to ignore this abuse.
Hold the UN to account. Sign the petition here.
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