French soldier accused of sexual abuse in CAR

French President Francois Hollande promises to show no mercy if allegations against French soldier confirmed

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

French soldiers on patrol in Bangui. A report into sexual abuse of children by some French peacekeepers has been leaked to French prosecutors-Archive

A French peacekeeping soldier has being accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the latest series of crimes carried out by the peacekeeping forces, said the United Nations' top human rights official.

The girl was sexually abused in her mid-to-late teens last year. She gave birth to a child in April and registered for a paternity case with local officials.  

The UN High official for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said the UN staff were informed on Aug. 30 of allegations that a French soldier sexually abused a teenage girl.

Zeid said in a statement on Thursday, during a visit to Central African Republic "We simply have to find ways to prevent such odious acts being committed by any soldiers anywhere who are supposed to be protecting vulnerable populations."

"Any UN or other foreign military personnel found guilty must be given sentences that fit the crime," Zeid said.

He said French government and the UN mission had been informed of the latest allegation, and both officials have pledged to investigate into the matter.

A French military spokesman later reported that an internal investigation into the allegations had been opened.

French President Francois Hollande also vowed to show zero tolerance if the allegation is confirmed. 

According to a UN report leaked in April, at least 13 French soldiers, two soldiers from Equatorial Guinea and three Chadian soldiers were accused in the alleged sexual abuse of children between December 2013 and June 2014.

MINUSCA, a UN mission, established in April 2014 has also been hit by accusations of sexual abuse. It reported last month to have received 61 cases of misconduct, including 13 allegations of possible sexual crime and abuse.

Babacar Gaye, the head of MINUSCA, was forced to resign last month after Amnesty International accused the mission peacekeepers of sexual abuses, including the rape of a 12-year-old girl during an operation in the capital city of the Central African Republic.   


TRTWorld and agencies