As the U.N. Security Council votes to remove peacekeepers from Haiti, a new investigation from the Associated Press reveals more than 2,000 cases of sexual abuse and exploitation by United Nations peacekeepers.
The United Nations was formed following the second World War as an effort to unify the world and prevent another global war and catastrophe. Since its founding, the U.N. has been plagued with controversy and criticism. Early opponents of the organization feared it was one more step in the direction of a totalitarian world government ruled by criminal heads of state. Others have complained of being forced to fund an organization that seems incapable of preventing war, and in some cases, actually supports warmongers. However, a new report from the Associated Press details one of the most disturbing aspects of this unaccountable international organization: sexual exploitation of children from around the world by U.N. peacekeepers
The AP investigation looked into U.N. missions from the last 12 years involving peacekeepers from 23 countries. The report reveals a level of depravity previously unheard of from within the U.N. and likely any other government agency. The AP reports that more than 300 of the 2,000 allegations involved children, and only a tiny percentage of the men accused of the crimes received prison sentences. The peacekeepers are not under the U.N.’s jurisdiction, so it is up to their home countries to punish the troops. But these men are rarely held accountable. Coincidentally, on Thursday the U.N. Security Council voted to remove the peacekeepers from Haiti by October 15. Still, the peacekeepers remain active in nations around the world.
“I did not even have breasts,” a young girl known as Victim No.1 told U.N. investigators when describing having sex with close to 50 U.N. peacekeepers when she was between the ages of 12 to 15. Her story is one of the hundreds documented by U.N. officials and investigators. AP interviewed victims and current and former U.N. officials in an attempt to get answers from 23 nations regarding the number of peacekeepers who face allegations of sex crimes and what was done to investigate the allegations.
“With rare exceptions, few nations responded to repeated requests, while the names of those found guilty are kept confidential, making accountability impossible to determine. Without agreement for widespread reform and accountability from the U.N.’s member states, solutions remain elusive,” AP reports.
The AP obtained an internal U.N. report that states at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers exploited nine children in Haiti in a sex ring from 2004 to 2007. Following the release of the U.N. report, 114 peacekeepers were sent home, but none of them ever saw the inside of a prison.
Other Haitian women told the U.N. investigators they were raped and/or participating in what is sometimes known as “survival sex” for little money. A young victim known as “Victim No. 7” actually received a phone call from a U.N. peacekeeper while being interviewed by investigators. V07 explained that soldiers share the numbers of their rape victims with incoming troops.
The internal U.N. report also showed that from 2004 to mid-October 2007, nine Haitian children were sexually exploited by around 134 current and former Sri Lankan military members. Another incident involved the rape of a mentally disabled 13-year-old by three Pakistanis working with the U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti. Peter Gallo, a former U.N. investigator familiar with the case, told AP that the U.N. officials went to Haiti to investigate the claim, but the young boy had been kidnapped by the Pakistanis and prevented from speaking.
These crimes against humanity, especially against children, are disgusting in the worst way. These individuals prey on children and other at-risk populations, force themselves upon them, and then get away with the full protection of the U.N. because of a lack of jurisdiction and an apparent lack of interest in pursuing justice. Unsurprisingly, the AP’s report this week is not the first to document similar crimes by peacekeepers.
“Imagine if the U.N. was going to the United States and raping children and bringing cholera,” Haitian lawyer Mario Joseph told the AP. “Human rights aren’t just for rich white people.” Joseph is currently trying to get child support for about a dozen Haitian women left pregnant by peacekeepers.
When confronted with the facts of the AP’s investigation, Atul Khare, head of the U.N. department in charge of peacekeeper discipline and conduct, said the U.N. believes it is “advancing in the right direction” and working to improve assistance provided to victims. Khare also claimed the U.N. is working with member states to hold the rapists and child predators accountable.
Ironically, while the Associated Press was breaking this story, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley stated that U.N. peacekeeping made “a great contribution” to Haiti in response to the 2010 earthquake. Haley made no mention of the role of the peacekeepers in sexual exploitation or the spread of cholera that killed 10,000 people due to peacekeeper negligence.
In late March, Betsy McCaughey, a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, wrote an op-ed in the NY Post calling for an end to funding the U.N. peacekeepers. McCaughey noted that “past American presidents have poured billions into UN peacekeeping operations that have propped up autocratic regimes like those in Sudan and Angola.” She also notes that U.N. forces are “notorious” for raping women and children. “Sexual assaults by UN personnel have been documented in Bosnia, Burundi, Cambodia, Congo, Guinea, Haiti, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Mali and Sudan,” McCaughey wrote.
Even Voice of America, the propaganda outlet for the American establishment, admitted that many Haitians want the peacekeepers out of their country after 13 years of continuous occupation. Haitians will soon have their way now that the United Nations Security Council has voted to remove the peacekeepers. Unfortunately, the nation has had an issue with children being exploited and raped following the devastating 2010 earthquake. Just one month after the earthquake, 10 American missionaries were jailed for attempting to sell 33 Haitian children. The missionaries claimed they were starting an orphanage when, in fact, the story was a cover for an attempted abduction. Interestingly, former President Bill Clinton stepped in and pulled some diplomatic Jedi mind tricks to help the would-be kidnappers go free.
If United Nations officials, foreign governments, and a former American president refuse to investigate and punish these claims of child abduction, rape, and exploitation, how can we ever expect to put an end to these tragedies? The free hearts and minds of this world must be willing to question the people in power and accept that they do not have the public’s interest at heart.