UN fund for sexual abuse victims grows to $1.5m

2017-09-29 15:29
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Dakar -  A UN fund to help victims of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and UN staff has now grown to $1.5m following contributions from 10 more countries including Sri Lanka, whose troops were implicated in a three-year-long child sex ring in Haiti.

The UN Department of Field Support made the announcement on Thursday in New York, a week after a special session was held on the sidelines of the annual General Assembly to address the scourge of sexual violence by UN staff and peacekeepers in missions around the world.

The new contributions to the trust fund, which had previously been estimated at about $500 000, will initially be used to boost services for victims in Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the announcement.

"These contributions reinforce the Secretary-General's clear commitment to putting the rights and dignity of victims first," it said.

Projects are also expected in several of the other countries with high numbers of allegations - Central African Republic, Haiti and Liberia.

A recent year-long investigation by The Associated Press found that more than 700 of the approximately 2 000 allegations of sexual misconduct since 2004 had taken place in DRC, an enormous African country that is home to the largest UN peacekeeping mission in the world.

The AP investigation found that the UN failed to meet many of its pledges to stop help victims, some of whom have been lost to a sprawling bureaucracy. Cases have disappeared, or have been handed off to the peacekeepers' home countries - which often do nothing with them.

Justice is even more elusive, because the cases get referred to the alleged perpetrators' home countries. The AP found that even after a UN investigation discovered a three-year child sex ring involving Sri Lankan peacekeepers in Haiti, Sri Lanka prosecuted no one.

The South Asian country was among the 10 announced as contributors on Thursday though it was not immediately clear how much the nation may have donated as no breakdown was made public. The announcement also noted that $102 000 of the money comes from withholding payments to alleged perpetrators in cases where complaints were substantiated.

Other new contributors to the fund whose peacekeepers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct include Bangladesh, Nigeria and Pakistan. Albania, Canada, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland also have made unspecified donations, joining Bhutan, Cyprus, India, Japan and Norway, the UN said.

Read more on:    un  |  sri lanka  |  drc  |  central african republic  |  central africa

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