Haiti: UN probes sex abuses

Haitian women’s organizations are now demanding reparations from Sri Lanka and an investigation by Haitian authorities of alleged sexual abuses by troops in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). In November Haitian women’s groups and human rights groups had reported that at least 111 Sri Lanka MINUSTAH soldiers were repatriated because of their involvement in the abuses. The United Nations now acknowledges that Office of Internal Oversight Services started an investigation after reports in August of abuses in Port-au-Prince’s impoverished Martissant neighborhood, but it has failed to make its findings public or share them with the Haitian government.

The United Nations troops were reportedly paying girls as young as 13 about $1 for sex; five young Haitian women who went to Sri Lanka with the soldiers were forced into brothels or polygamous households there. Haitian women’s affairs minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue said the abuses might be more widespread than reported. “The Sri Lankan case is the one we are hearing about now, but it’s not the only one,” Olga Benoit of Haitian Women’s Solidarity (SOFA) told the Los Angeles Times. Two Pakistani peacekeepers were expelled two years ago for raping a mentally ill woman in Gonaives, and a French policeman was disciplined for keeping a prostitute captive. (LAT, Dec. 15)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 16

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