Sudan is to launch its own investigation into claims that UN peacekeepers have been raping and sexually abusing children. The UN says up to 13 people, mainly from Bangladesh, are involved in the inquiry. The UN has more than 10,000 personnel from over 70 countries in southern Sudan as part of a peace deal that ended a 21-year civil war.
UN spokeswoman, Jane Holl Lute, says it is difficult for the UN to take strong action in such cases other than expel the suspects: “When allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are levied against personnel and they are founded we take action and the action that we take is relatively limited because we depend on the sovereign authority of the member-states to follow through consistent with their own military codes of justice and national laws.”
There are 20 alleged victims, some as young as 12. The Sudanese government says the abuse allegations are one of “many reasons” it has been resisting the UN taking full control of the troubled Darfur region.