Monday, January 8, 2007

Burundi: Reports of Sexual Misconduct by U.N. Peacekeepers

D.R. CONGO -- The UN has suspended two peacekeepers serving in Burundi following allegations of sexual misconduct.

An official UN investigation is under way into the incident, which allegedly took place last weekend in Muyinga in the country's north-east.

The latest allegations come on top of a probe into charges of rape, paedophilia and prostitution involving UN troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are currently more than 5,000 UN peacekeepers in Burundi.

The UN has not released further information on the Burundi allegations, but a spokesperson said the organisation would not waiver from its responsibility to ensure zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse by its personnel.

Sexual exploitation

The latest allegations come a month after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan acknowledged UN peacekeeping personnel in DR Congo had been involved in sexual exploitation.

Mr Annan vowed to root out such practices of gross misconduct throughout the UN.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that, according to a draft UN report, investigators looking into the allegations in the DR Congo were being obstructed by peacekeepers.

UN officials say they are investigating some 150 allegations in total and that there is photographic and video evidence for some of them.


READ THE OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon AT UN.ORG

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