Now, officials have learned about what appears to be a fresh scandal. Investigators discovered this month that at least four U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic allegedly paid girls as little as 50 cents in exchange for sex.
The case is the latest to plague the U.N. mission in the Central African Republic, whose employees have been accused of 22 other incidents of alleged sexual abuse or sexual exploitation in the past 14 months. The most recent accusations come in the wake of Ban’s efforts to implement a “zero tolerance” policy for such offenses.
The United Nations maintains nine peacekeeping operations in Africa, employing more than 100,000 people on the continent, and the abuses threaten to erode the organization’s legitimacy. Other sex-crime cases have occurred in Mali, South Sudan, Liberia and Congo in recent years.
Last month, the United Nations published a damning independentinvestigation that said that poor enforcement of policies in place to deter and report abuse meant that “the credibility of the U.N. and peacekeeping operations are in jeopardy.” Experts and officials say systemic problems still hinder the investigation and prosecution of alleged abusers, leading to a perception of impunity.
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