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UN Child Rapes in CAR May Not Be In Statistics, ICP Asks, Watchlist Report

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 10 -- When a rare UN press conference on children in the Central African Republic was held, featuring Raimonda Murmokaite, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the UN and Janine Morna of Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict on September 10, Inner City Press went to ask about peacekeepers' child rapes in the country, and their impact. Video here.

   Ambassador Murmokaite, who recently visited CAR, had cited data from the CAR Task Force of 34 rapes from January to June, 2015. Inner City Press asked if this figure included the rapes ascribed to UN Peacekeepers, and to the French Sangaris Force. She replied that the figure was for rapes by “parties to the conflict.” But does that include the peacekeepers?

   While some might say that peacekeepers (at least UN peacekeepers, as distinct from French forces like Sangaris, or Licorne in Ivory Coast, which act as parties to the conflict) are not parties to conflict, the mandate for example of some parts of MONUSCO in the DR Congo are akin to parties to a conflict. So this question remains unanswered.

   Later on September 10 as UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous exited a closed door Security Council session about CAR, Inner City Press asked him when he will, at least, answer questions about peacekeepers' rapes. Ladsous did not answer. Periscope video here.

   Watchlist's report, “Vulnerable Students, Unsafe Schools: Attacks and Military Use of Schools in the Central African Republic,” is well worth reading; it is online. Watchlist has done work on the peacekeeper sexual abuse issue; here's hoping they do more.


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