A heartbreaking new study links UN peacekeepers to hundreds of children fathered in Haiti and abandoned to struggle in poverty, the New York Times reports. The peacekeepers—from over a dozen countries, but mostly Brazil and Uruguay—often gave food or money in exchange for sex, the study says, and shirked all responsibility when their mission ended. "They put a few coins in your hands to drop a baby in you," a Haitian told researchers. Among the 2,500 Haitians interviewed, just over 10% told such stories without any prompting. "The child is growing up, and it's myself and my family that are struggling with him," one mother said. "I now have to send him to school. They put him out because I'm unable to pay for it."
Haitian lawyers took action, filing paternity suits for 10 such children, but they say UN officials did nothing. Among the most scathing responses: "This research confirms that standard UN practice is to exploit women ... and then squash them like bugs if they dare complain about sexual abuse and threaten the UN patriarchy's 75-year-old culture of entitlement and impunity," says Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World. A UN Peacekeeping rep tells the Times of London that efforts are underway to "end and prevent these abuses" but that "much remains to be done." It's another black eye for the 2004-2017 peacekeeping effort, which has been linked to the killing of civilians and the introduction of cholera, which killed over 10,000 people in Haiti and sickened over 800,000 more. (Read more United Nations stories.)