United Nations and USA urge accountability for victims of Sri Lankan peacekeeper abuse
The UN Security Council unanimously approved the measure on April 13.
The peacekeepers had arrived that year as part of a new mission to help stabilize the country in the wake of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s ouster. It will focus on the rule of law, building Haitian police capacities and monitoring human rights.
From 2004 to 2007, nine Haitian children were exploited by a child sex ring involving at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers, according to a United Nations report obtained by The Associated Press. Haley asked, citing the AP’s investigation detailing how at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers sexually abused and exploited nine Haitian children between 2004 and 2007.
The U.S. ambassador quoted a recent report by the Associated Press news agency on a sex ring allegedly run by Sri Lankan peacekeepers who lured hungry teenage boys and girls by offering them snacks and cookies. Missions are dependent on contributions from United Nations member states.
The U.N. stabilization mission, known as MINUSTAH, was deployed to Haiti in June 2004.
Haitians as a result are either indifferent about or happy with the idea of the looming end of the MINUSTAH mission, even though there is widespread fear of renewed insecurity in the capital Port-au-Prince.
UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft said more cuts to peacekeeping should be expected.
Missions in Liberia and Ivory Coast are also set to end, while the joint UN-African Union peace operation in Sudan’s Darfur region is also expected to be drawn down.
“Peacekeepers do fantastic work but they are very expensive and they should be used only when needed”, Rycroft said.
“If missions don’t stay long enough to secure the gains they make and ensure that the host government is truly ready to manage security, United Nations member states will pay a much bigger price in the long-term”, she said in an email.
The United Nations also suffered in Haiti, losing almost 100 peacekeepers and personnel in the 2010 natural disaster that killed as many as 300,000 people. More than 300 of these cases involved the sexual abuse of children, and the peacekeepers rarely, if ever, were punished for their actions.
Former U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon recommended that U.N. peacekeepers accused of sexual abuse and exploitation be court martialed in countries where the alleged incidents took place.
The New York Times noted that Haley did not address the cholera outbreak, nor how the United Nations plans to raise the funds to compensate survivors. Haiti was free of cholera until 2010, when peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river.