Hollande, Ban: No impunity in CAR sex abuse case

2016-04-01 21:22

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Washington - French President Francois Hollande and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday there would be no impunity for French troops and UN peacekeepers accused in a sexual abuse scandal in the Central African Republic.

The United Nations on Thursday said more than 100 victims had come forward in the country with disturbing new accounts of sexual abuse, including bestiality, by UN peacekeepers and French troops.

"In light of new allegations of sexual abuse allegedly committed by Minusca and Sangaris troops (the UN and French missions to the CAR), the president and the UN secretary general both expressed the desire to establish the truth, and to reject any impunity," the French presidency said in a statement.

Hollande, who met with Ban in Washington on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit, later said that if true, the allegations would "stain France's honour".

French authorities this week received a UN letter outlining new allegations of sexual abuse.

Ban was "shocked to the core" by the allegations that emerged after a UN team travelled to south-central Kemo prefecture to interview the women and girls.

Also on Friday, the French defence ministry said the French troops, if convicted, would face strict military discipline in addition to any criminal penalties that may be brought.

UN rights officers have so far interviewed 108 alleged victims, "the vast majority" of whom are under-age girls who were raped, sexually abused or exploited by foreign troops, the UN says.

Aids-Free World, a civil society group that tracks peacekeeper sex abuse cases, said three girls told a UN rights officer that in 2014 they were tied up and undressed by a Sangaris commander inside a camp and forced to have sex with a dog.

France sent its Sangaris intervention force to the Central African Republic in December 2013 and while the troops are not part of the UN mission, they have been mandated by the Security Council to help restore peace to the country.

Read more on:    france  |  central african republic  |  sex abuse

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