Half Of Alleged DRC Rape Victims Are Minors: UN

Six minors are part of the 11 alleged victims that accuse a Tanzanian contingent, in the Democratic Republic of Congo of rape. The suspects were serving as United Nations Peacekeepers in the DRC.

This is according to the UN that for months has been under the microscope following allegations of sexual abuse against peacekeepers in its missions around the world, particularly in theCentral African Republic.  

The Tanzanian contingent is serving in MONUSCO’s (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) Force Intervention Brigade alongside South African and Malawian troops.

The body of allegations continues to shame the UN and various troop-contributing countries, in this instance Tanzania, as additional information is now being made available by UN.

Spokesperson Farhan Haq says, “We can confirm that out of the 11 allegedly abused women, six were minors. Seven of the alleged victims have already given birth and four women are still pregnant. They have been referred to UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund) which has deployed a team on the ground.”

The accused soldiers have been detained while their Tanzanian contingent has been confined to base pending the investigation.

Haq says, “The Tanzanian Permanent Mission to the UN in New York has informed the UN during a meeting with the Department of Field Support that they have appointed an investigation team which will travel in the DRC in the coming days. The Secretariat has recommended to the Tanzanian authorities to conduct joint investigations with the Office for Internal Oversight Services.”

 The Security Council last month passed a resolution endorsing a new policy of repatriating entire units back home if soldiers face sexual assault allegations.

“Pending the results of an investigation, all measures will be considered in terms of how we respond and including potentially the repatriation of the unit and command accountability will also be sought for that,” says Haq.

On how the Tanzanian’s being confined to base is affecting the ability of MONUSCO as a whole to implement its mandate, Haq says, “We hope that we will be able to resolve this matter quickly and go about all the necessary activities on the ground, so that we can ensure the safety and security of the civilian population of the DRC. It is important for us to get to the bottom of this, and also for us to have contingents that are working and working properly so that people can feel safe.”

 The UN has confirmed that the only contingent facing allegations of sexual assault in the DRC is the Tanzanians.