CHILDREN as young as nine traded oral sex for food from UN peacekeepers in warzones while officials looked the other way, a shocking new report has claimed.
Memos about the sexual abuse in the Central African Republic were “passed from desk to desk, inbox to inbox, across multiple UN offices, with no one willing to take responsibility”, the report found.
It added: “The welfare of the victims and the accountability of the perpetrators appeared to be an afterthought, if considered at all.”
The investigation revealed that French peacekeepers from the UN’s children agency, UNICEF, failed to act on reports of sexual abuse in early 2014 in the midst of civil war.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “profound regret that these children were betrayed by the very people sent to protect them” and said he accepted the panel’s broad findings.
No one has been arrested more than a year and a half after UN authorities were made aware of the sexual abuse allegations.
Four French soldiers were questioned last week and released without charge.
It took almost a year for UN staff to respond to allegations of rape by six children.
One child reported he had been “orally and anally raped.”