A report compiled by the Associated Press detailed nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers and other personnel over the past 12 years, yet the majority of perpetrators escaped jail time due to lax enforcement by their respective governments of origin.
According to an internal UN document obtained by AP, at least 134 peacekeepers from Sri Lanka abused nine Haitian children in a sex ring from 2004 to 2007. While 114 peacekeepers were sent back to Sri Lanka following the report’s release, none were ever imprisoned.
In another case, a teenage Haitian boy claimed he was gang-raped by Uruguayan peacekeepers in 2011, who filmed the assault on a cellphone. The five men never faced trial in Haiti, while four of the five were convicted in Uruguay of the lesser charge of “private violence.”
Dozens of Haitian women have also claimed to be victims of sexual assault, with many referring to it as “survival sex.”
“I did not even have breasts,” said one girl, known as Victim Number 1, who reported that, from ages 12 to 15, she had sex with nearly 50 peacekeepers, including a “Commandant” who gave her 75 cents.
Another boy, designated Victim Number 8, said he had sex with more than 20 Sri Lankan peacekeepers, many of whom would remove their name tags before sodomizing him in the back of UN military trucks.
Janila Jean said she lured to a UN compound three years ago, when she was 16 years-old, by a Brazilian peacekeeper with a smear of peanut butter on bread, who proceeded to rape her at gunpoint; the sexual assault left her pregnant.
In Haiti, alleged sexual abusers came from Bangladesh, Brazil, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uruguay and Sri Lanka, according to UN data and interviews.
Peacekeepers were deployed to Haiti in 2004 under the auspices of stabilizing the country following a military coup that ousted President Jean-Bertrande Aristide.
French peacekeepers were accused of raping and sodomizing young boys at a center for displaced individuals in the capital city of Central African Republic. The whistleblower, who leaked documents to the French government detailing the abuse after becoming frustrated with the UN’s inaction, was suspended by UN bureaucrats.
According to AIDS Free World, which leaked a report detailing abuse by other African troops in Central African Republic, a French military commander reportedly forced four girls to have sex with a dog.
Republican Senator Bob Corker, who has advocated for an evaluation of all UN peacekeeping missions, expressed his disgust at the claims of sexual abuse.
“If I heard that a U.N. peacekeeping mission was coming near my home in Chattanooga,” he said. “I’d be on the first plane out of here to go back and protect my family.”
“I’d like to see my attacker face to face and tell him how he has destroyed my life,” said Melida Joseph, a 21 year-old who said she was raped by one peacekeeper and narrowly escaped being gang-raped. “They’ll look at this as one big joke.”
“As far as the U.N. goes, they came here to protect us, but all they’ve brought is destruction.”