Sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers `highly` under-reported: UNOIOS report

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London, June 11: Members of a United Nations peacekeeping mission engaged in ‘transactional sex’ with over 225 Haitian women but the cases were highly under-reported, said a report.

The report was a draft prepared by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which examined the way the peacekeeping mission dealt with the problem of sexual abuse and exploitation across the world.

The Guardian report said that almost 125,000 peacekeepers are stationed in some of the world’s most troubled locales.

The report claimed that about a third of the total sexual abuse victims were minors and added that assistance to the victims was ‘severely deficient’.

The report also noted that the average investigation by OIOS, which claims that it gives priority to cases involving minors or rape, took about more than a year.

A probe conducted a year ago had revealed that women in Haiti had confessed having transactional sexual relationships with UN officials in exchange for shelter, baby-care items, medication, household items, cell phones, laptops, perfume and money.

Only seven respondents knew about the world body’s policy prohibiting sexual exploitation and abuse and none knew about the mission’s hotline to report such cases.

In 2014, the total number of allegations of sexual exploitation against members of all UN peacekeeping missions was 51, down from 66 a year before, according to the secretary general’s latest annual report on the issue.

The Haiti peacekeeping mission is one of the four peacekeeping missions that have accounted for the most number of sexual abuse allegations in recent years, apart from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and South Sudan.

(With Agency Inputs)

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