Widespread allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of Congolese women, boys and girls have been made against U.N. personnel who were sent to help and protect them — despite a so-called zero tolerance policy touted by the United Nations toward such behavior.Read that again, and try and take it all in. The caption on the picutre of Bourguet says he is a "U.N. official from France, is pictured here in an image found on his hard drive, which was obtained by ABC News. Also on the hard drive were thousands of photos of him having sex with hundreds of young Congolese girls." [Emphasis mine]
The range of sexual abuse includes reported rapes of young Congolese girls by U.N. troops; an Internet pedophile ring run from Congo by Didier Bourguet, a senior U.N. official from France; a colonel from South Africa accused of molesting his teenage male translators; and estimates of hundreds of underage girls having babies fathered by U.N. soldiers who have been able to simply leave their children and their crimes behind.
One of the reasons why it's such a large problem is the UN policy - while this article says it's one of zero tolerance, but as Tim Blair found out, Reuters has a different story to tell:
Children as young as 12 or 13 were bribed with eggs, milk or a few dollars in exchange for sex, UN reports said.So forced prostitution is occasionally allowed? What about sex with underage kids? It's horrid. Luckily for the UN, William Swing - who heads the UN's mission in Congo, not the marginally smaller mission to molest kids, rape locals and force others into prostitution - has banned all UN soldier sex in Congo. Swing has been a Clinton appointment to Congo in the past, so while he has experience in the area, I doubt he's experienced in dealing with child-molesting "peacekeepers".
UN regulations for soldiers usually forbid sex with anyone under 18 and forced prostitution. But often officials found there was a fine line between forced and willing sex. [Emphasis mine]
Luckily though, not all hope is lost for the UN - they're only seventeen and a half steps behind, on a good day:
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy for children and armed conflict (CAAC) today launched an action plan for systematically monitoring and reporting of child abuse in situations of armed conflict, or in "situations of concern," with a view to triggering a strong international response.Note that in the rest of that article, which comes from the UN's own news service, there's no mention of systematic UN abuses around the globe, including in Rwanda. But of course, the UN holds the moral highground, don't they?
The Ace Of Spades headline "The UN: We're Not Just About Billion-Dollar Corruption Schemes. We Also Rape Children." might be a bit on the harsh side, but there's a lot of truth to it. Unfortunately, I blogged about this in November, and Mostly Africa blogged about it in December 2003. By the time the UN gets around to stopping these actions, they'll have popped up in other locations, and once again, Kofi Annan will be shocked by what happened.
Get used to it, Kofi - your whole organisation is corrupt and useless.
(Cross-posted to The House Of Wheels.)