Report Bares Child Abuse by Peacekeepers

Watchdog should be appointed to protect kids, charity urges
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 27, 2008 5:07 AM CDT
U.N. peacekeeping soldiers from Jordan wait in the back of a truck in the town of Malpasse, Haiti, on the border with the Dominican Republic, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008.    (AP Photo/Evens Sanon)
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(Newser) – A shocking number of children as young as 6 are being sexually abused by peacekeepers and aid workers sent to protect them, a top global charity has found. Children are “suffering sexual exploitation and abuse in silence,” fearful of speaking out, said a representative for Save the Children. An organization survey uncovered cases in Sudan, Haiti and the Ivory Coast—and recommended that an international watchdog be appointed to monitor the situation, the BBC reports.

“All agencies working in emergency situations must own up to the fact that they are vulnerable to this problem and tackle it head on,” said the spokeswoman, who criticized "endemic failures" to respond to incidents. A United Nations spokesman said it was unrealistic to expect “zero incidents" but that authorities follow a policy of “zero impunity” when cases occur.