UN probes allegations of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers in Liberia

29 April 2005 –

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia has been investigating allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by its personnel and has sought cooperation from the troop contributing countries, a UN spokesman said today.

Preliminary fact-finding by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) indicates that some charges are substantiated and some are not, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at the daily briefing in New York.

The allegations range from personnel exchanging goods, money or services for sex to the sexual exploitation of a minor, he said.

UNMIL and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) were taking appropriate follow-up action, he said.

“The United Nations treats this issue with the utmost seriousness,” Mr. Dujarric said. “As we continue to clamp down on misconduct throughout all peacekeeping missions, it is likely that the number of allegations will increase.”

Some of them had come to light because of a hotline set up by the United Nations, he said, while others came up as the UN followed up on media reports.

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