UN investigated alleged child abuse by French troops in CAR

29th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

UN rights investigators conducted a probe last year following "serious allegations" of child abuse and sexual exploitation by French troops in the Central African Republic, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The internal report was leaked in July last year to French authorities by a UN staff member who has been placed on leave with full pay, spokesman Farhan Haq said.

The confidential report documented sexual exploitation of children by French troops stationed in the country including details on the victims and the soldiers involved.

The French defense ministry confirmed in Paris that it had followed up the UN rights probe by opening its own investigation.

The Guardian newspaper named the UN official who passed on the confidential document as Swedish national Anders Kompass, who is based in Geneva.

While the United Nations did not identify the source of the leak, it asserted that a "such conduct does not constitute whistleblowing", according to their preliminary assessment.

Kompass is said to have passed on the confidential document before it was presented to senior officials in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"This constitutes a serious breach of protocol, which, as is well known to all OHCHR officials, requires redaction of any information that could endanger victims, witnesses and investigators," said Haq.

The abuses detailed in the report took place before the UN mission MINUSCA was deployed in the Central African Republic and was investigated by the UN office of human rights in Bangui in the late spring of last year.

The Guardian said the report included accounts from boys who were raped and sexually assaulted between December 2013 and June 2014 by French troops at a camp for displaced people at the Bangui airport.

France sent troops to the Central African Republic in December 2013 as the country became engulfed in violence following a coup in March that toppled longtime leader Francois Bozize.

© 2015 AFP

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