UN to probe Sudan sex abuse claim
Ethiopian Jewish immigrant children pose at the absorption center in
Mevasseret Zion on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Oct. 15, 2006. More
than 50,000 Ethiopians immigrated in two clandestine airlifts in
1984 and 1991, as civil war and famine gripped Ethiopia. Others
trekked through the desert to Sudan, where Israel flew them to Tel
Aviv. Today some 105,000 Ethiopians live in Israel, a country of 7
The UN has investigated over 300 peacekeeping personnel worldwide The
UN says it will investigate allegations that some peacekeepers in
southern Sudan have been involved in the rape and sexual abuse of
British newspaper The Daily Telegraph said the abuse began shortly
after the UN mission arrived in March 2005.
It quoted an internal report by UN children's agency Unicef and cited
interviews with 20 alleged victims. The UN has more than 10,000 police,
peacekeepers and staffers from over 70 countries in southern Sudan.
They are there to enforce a peace agreement that ended a 21-year
civil war in the region. The daily says that UN personnel in the
regional capital, Juba, have been having sex with children as young as
12.It has gathered accounts from more than 20 people who say they have
It also cites an unfinished internal Unicef report which, it says,
suggests the UN has been aware of the problem for over a year.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jane Holl Lute said
the allegations would be investigated.
"I do not believe these are new allegations," she told the Associated
Press news agency. "Nevertheless, we will treat them as seriously as we
treat all other allegations."
"We need to ascertain the facts and follow it through to appropriate
resolution and take action if necessary," she said.
There have been allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers in
places such as DR Congo, Haiti and Liberia.
Last month, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said there would
be "zero tolerance" of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers. The UN says
it has investigated abuse allegations against 316 of its personnel since
January 2004, 179 of whom have been disciplined.