United States insists upon child abuse investigation in Central Africa

United States adds to voices calling for inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of children by French and African troops in Central African Republic

Photo by: Getty Images
Photo by: Getty Images

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United States has called for action on sexual child abuse allegations by French and African troops in the Central African Republic, which were revealed by leaked UN reports in April.

The allegations were detailed by an internal UN report which uncovered allegations that children were sexually abused by troops from France, Chad and Equatorial Guinea between December 2013 and June 2014 at a center for displaced people at M’Poko airport in the Central African Republic capital, Bangui, Reuters has reported.

According to the six-page document, young children who were interviewed by UN investigators alleged they had performed oral sex on the French troops.

The soldiers from Equatorial Guinea and Chad were accused of sodomising children.

"The allegations are completely horrific," US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said.

"If these allegations prove true, it is such a profound violation, not only of the dignity and physical security of individuals in their most vulnerable state, but it is a complete abrogation of trust,” she added.

"They are certainly very credible and very disturbing allegations." .

French authorities said on Thursday they would open an investigation after a preliminary inquiry as soon as they receive a written consultation report by UN.

A staff member at the UN admitted leaking a report on the investigation before it was submitted to top management at the UN’s office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The UN called this action as “a serious breach of protocol” since it may endanger victims.

"In terms of the U.N. and the member state's handling of the issue, I think it is extremely important that an impartial investigation be done also of that, on top of investigating the allegations themselves," Power said.

Power said it was "extremely important that any individual who comes into possession of allegations of this gravity acts swiftly, [but] it is also extremely important that victim and witness safety be a very significant, a primary consideration."

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said “there was an internal U.N. investigation of the staff member who leaked the report.”

"Obviously, there will come a time, I think, when we will need to take a look at how this issue was handled," he said.

France sent its troops to the Central African Republic 18 months ago in order to put down violence between Christian militias and Muslim Seleka rebels.

The United Nations took over the African peacekeeping force in September.