(updated) UN Mission in South Sudan says no allegation of rape made against Nepali peacekeepers


Kathmandu, April 24

Update 16.20 hrs:

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan said allegation of rape has not been made against any Nepali peacekeeper. In a statement, the mission said that on April 13, four teenagers were caught trying to enter the United Nations base in Aweil through the perimeter fence.

“It was alleged that one of the teenaged girls had been touched inappropriately by a member of the Nepalese
contingent in exchange for money. There was no allegation made of rape,” it said.

The mission also said that it deployed a Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Immediate Response Team (IRT) to Aweil to gather information and preserve evidence prior to the launch of an investigation by Nepali authorities. The matter has also been reported to the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), an agency that is
independent from UNMISS, it said.

Earlier report:

Nepali personnel working as peacekeepers under the UN flag are facing allegations of child rape in South Sudan, a UN ‘data dump’ has revealed.

Five more cases of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers were disclosed on the UN’s website on Friday, April 13, reports said. However, the details of the cases are under the wraps. It is not known how many Nepalis were involved in the case and whether they belong to the army or police.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) received an allegation of sexual abuse involving unidentified members of the Nepali contingent, Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, told reporters on Monday. He added that the UN has informed Nepali officials of the case and a response had been sought.

“We’ve requested a full investigation be conducted by the troop‑contributing country within the expedited timeframe of 90 days, jointly with a team of… from OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services],” Dujarric said without divulging the details.

He said that  Nepal’s response on whether it will investigate the matter or not is expected by April 25.

“UNMISS, as you know, has a zero… like all of us, have a zero‑tolerance [policy] and no excuse and no second chance approach to child sexual exploitation and abuse.  The Mission reiterates that such acts should be properly investigated, and where applicable, criminal prosecution be pursued under the law of the contributing country,” the spokesperson added.

“Any act of sexual abuse is horrendous; one involving a child, I think, is especially heinous, if one needs to qualify these things.”

The UN has 14,800 troops and police deployed in war-torn South Sudan, with a mandate to protect civilians in a war between the forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels. In February, 46 UN peacekeepers from Ghana were recalled from their base in north-western South Sudan after the mission received allegations of sexual exploitation of women.

Published on April 24th, Tuesday, 2018 12:09 PM

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