France, UN vow zero impunity in CAR sex abuse scandal

French President Holland, UN chief Ban say no 'impunity' in Central African Republic sex scandal

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

UN peacekeepers and French troops deployed in Central African Republic.

Updated Apr 2, 2016

French troops accused of a sexual abuse scandal in the Central African Republic would face justice without impunity, French President Francois Hollande and UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon said on Friday. 

Earlier this week the French authorities received a UN letter indicating new accusations of sexual abuse by the French troops.

The United Nations said on Thursday that more than 100 victims had been sexually abused, including the act of beastiality, by UN peacekeepers and French troops.

"In light of new allegations of sexual abuse allegedly committed by MINUSCA and Sangaris troops (the UN and French missions to the CAR), the president and the UN secretary general both expressed the desire to establish the truth, and to reject any impunity," the French presidency said in a statement.

President Hollande, who met with Ban in Washington at the nuclear security summit, later said that if true, the allegations would "stain France's honour."

Ban was "shocked to the core" by the accusations that emerged after a UN group visited south-central Kemo prefecture to interview the affected women and girls.

The French Defence Ministry said the French troops, if found guilty would face strict military discipline in addition to any criminal punishment that may be brought.

The UN added that its officers have so far interviewed 108 alleged victims, "the vast majority" of whom are under-age girls who were raped, sexually abused or exploited by foreign troops.

Three girls told a UN rights officer that in 2014 they were tied up and undressed by a Sangaris commander inside a camp and forced to have sex with a dog, AIDS-Free World, a civil society group that tracks peacekeeper sex abuse cases, reported.

In December 2013, France deployed its Sangaris intervention force to the Central African Republic while the troops are not part of the UN mission, they have been mandated by the Security council to help restore peace in the war-torn country.