98 girls allegedly abused by UN peacekeepers
UNITED NATIONS (AP):
A United States-based advocacy group has disclosed that 98 girls in Central African Republic have reported that they were sexually abused by international peacekeepers, and three girls told United Nations (UN) staff that they were tied up, undressed and forced to have sex with a dog by a French military commander in 2014.
AIDS-Free World's Code Blue Campaign to end sexual abuse and exploitation said the three girls told a UN human rights officer that a fourth girl tied up with them later died of an unknown disease.
The group said the information it received, including the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in another part of the country on Monday, is in the hands of senior UN officials.
The UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, in a statement yesterday called the allegations "sickening" and said all three countries whose peacekeepers are accused have been formally notified. He said countries must do more to stop abuse and hold their troops accountable, "otherwise, this awful cycle of abuse will never end".
There was no immediate comment from French authorities.
The United Nations has been in the spotlight for months over allegations of child rape and other sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, especially those based in Central African Republic. There have been similar allegations against the French force known as Sangaris, which operates independently in Central African Republic, known as CAR.