21 December 2009 The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has announced that it is taking all possible measures to investigate allegations that have emerged of sexual abuse and exploitation among its military personnel, some dating back to 2006 and potentially involving minors.
The UN has a zero-tolerance policy against sexual abuse and exploitation by its peacekeepers. UNOCI announced that it has already taken additional preventive measures to reinforce adherence to this policy among the more than 8,300 uniformed personnel from some 50 countries.
In a press release issued on Friday, UNOCI announced that the personnel against whom the allegations have been made have been returned to their country of origin on regular rotation.
The mission had conducted an assessment visit in November to the area where the allegations reportedly occurred, one month after receiving allegations of possible misconduct.
Officials at UN Headquarters have informed authorities in Côte d’Ivoire and asked to carry out an investigation. While the UN can investigate claims, legal action against possible wrongdoing would be handled by the governments contributing personnel to missions.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue