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Global Focus

UN Peacekeepers under fire over sex abuse claims

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United Nations peacekeepers patrol outside a vote-counting centre for the presidential and parliamentary elections on January 2, 2016 in Bangui. UN troops stood guard over the main vote-counting centre in Bangui
United Nations peacekeepers patrol outside a vote-counting centre for the presidential and parliamentary elections on January 2, 2016 in Bangui. UN troops stood guard over the main vote-counting centre in Bangui ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

The United Nations said on Thursday it was looking into allegations that complaints of sexual abuse and exploitation made against its peacekeepers in the conflict-torn Central African Republic were mishandled or unreported. This is not the first time such allegations and complaints put the UN peacekeeping missions under fire.

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Allegations of sexual abuse by troops in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic have led to increasing scrutiny.

Although UN peacekeepers are sent to help with the peace transition process, some are accused of crimes against the very population they are expected to protect.

Such crimes have been allowed to continue with impunity, because the UN has no jurisdiction over any of the countries the troops might be coming from. That is why only a fraction of the alleged perpetrators have served jail time.

But why is this happening in the first place?

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