“The blue beret or the blue helmet you wear represents hope for the vulnerable population of the CAR,” SRSG says
As the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) is investigating fresh allegations concerning both sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and other misconduct by UN Peacekeepers and international forces in Bangui, SRSG Parfait Onanga-Anyanga and the Force Commander today met with members of MINUSCA Military and the Police in the Central African’s capital.
The SRSG reiterated its unwavering commitment to the Secretary-General's Zero Tolerance policy and reminded them that there will be no complacency for perpetrators or accomplices of such crimes which traumatize the life of vulnerable people and which also tarnish the Peacekeepers identity, the honour of their country and the UN flag. "The blue beret or the bleu helmet you wear represents hope for the vulnerable population of the CAR," Parfait Onanga-Anyanga said.
The SRSG also announced on-going discussions with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to carry out joint actions as part of the reinforcement of MINUSCA's ability to combat this SEA. Other upcoming measures include the establishment of a Police-Force joint brigade to identify SEA perpetrators and deter the occurrence of new cases. He underlined the need to conduct patrols in the IDP camps in close collaboration with the Central African internal security forces. He also renewed his commitment to protect whistleblowers.
The Mission continues to investigate each and every allegation of a misconduct. A fact finding mission is currently underway in this regard.
The National Authorities have been informed in Bangui and The Troop Contributing Countries in question have been informed officially in New York. SRSG Onanga-Anyanga calls on them to conduct their own national investigative processes immediately. The UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services will also be involved as appropriate.
The entire UN family is collaborating in addressing SEA in the broader context of upholding highest standard of conduct and discipline within the organization. Over the past week, UNICEF staff from the office in Bangui have undertaken four visits to meet with four alleged minors victims. UNICEF is working with a local partner to help the girls receive medical care, and is assessing their psychosocial needs. The girls were also provided with clothes, shoes and hygiene kits.
The SRSG reiterates that all international personnel and units will be held accountable to the highest standards of behaviour and conduct. “There is no place in UN peacekeeping for those who betray the trust of the people we are here to help”, he said.