New Delhi: “I don’t want to comment anything on this”, that’s what UNICEF representative to India said when he was asked a question regarding UN peacekeepers forcing starving children for oral sex to get food in the Central African Republic.
"This is a matter of international importance and I don't want to comment anything about it," said Louis Georges Arsenault, in a conversation with ABP Live, yesterday during an event of UNICEF on the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid (WIFS) Programme. The objective of WIFS is to reduce the prevalence and severity of nutritional anaemia amongst adolescents.
Shockingly, children as young as nine traded oral sex for food from UN peacekeepers in warzones. However, the officials looked the other way, a shocking new report has claimed.
Memos about the sexual abuse in the Central African Republic were “passed from desk to desk, inbox to inbox, across multiple UN offices, with no one willing to take responsibility”, the report found, reported the Sunday Express.
It added: “The welfare of the victims and the accountability of the perpetrators appeared to be an afterthought, if considered at all.”
As per the investigation, French peacekeepers from the UN’s children agency, UNICEF, failed to act on reports of sexual abuse in early 2014 in the midst of civil war.
While accepted the panel’s comprehensive findings, profound regret was expressed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he said that these children were betrayed by the very people sent to protect them.
Interestingly, even after more than a year and a half of the sexual abuse allegations, not even a single arrest was done.
Recently, four French soldiers were questioned and released without charge, reported the English daily.
What’s more shocking? It took almost 12 months for UN staff to respond to allegations of rape by six children.
One child reported he had been anally and orally raped.
It may be recalled that UNICEF was created in 1946 to help children in war-torn Europe, China and the Middle East. By 1953, UNICEF's mandate was extended to address the needs of children in the developing world.