Another UN Soldier Accused of Rape in Haiti

by the Center for Economic and
Policy Research (CEPR)
The United Nations mission in
Haiti, already facing a credibility crisis over its introduction
of cholera
, is facing new allegations that one of its troops raped an
18-year old woman this past weekend in the town of Léogâne, according
to police inspector Wilson Hippolite
. In an e-mailed statement, the UN
acknowledged that they “are aware of the allegations made against a military
staff member” and noted that a “preliminary investigation has been launched to
determine the facts of the case.”
to Metropole Haiti
, the alleged assault occurred off National Highway #2 on
Sat., Sep. 7, when the 18-year old woman was approached by a Sri Lankan UN
military officer. A Justice of the Peace, conducting a preliminary
investigation, visited the site of the alleged assault on Sunday and found a
used condom. Further tests are being conducted, according to the report. The
accused has been moved to a different MINUSTAH base in another part of the
country as the investigation unfolds. As of Jul. 30, Sri Lanka had over 860
troops stationed in Haiti, making it the third largest troop contributing country
to the nine year-old mission.
is but the latest in a string
of sexual abuse
that have plagued the UN mission in Haiti. And it’s not the first
time Sri Lankan troops have been involved; in 2007 over 100 Sri Lankan members
of MINUSTAH were repatriated after allegations of “transactional sex with
underage girls.” In fact, according to the UN
Conduct and Discipline Unit
, there have been 78 allegations of sexual abuse
and exploitation by members of MINUSTAH reported in just the last seven years.
to the latest allegation, the UN mission noted that “the UN has a zero
tolerance policy regarding sexual exploitation and abuse that we, at MINUSTAH,
strictly enforce.” However the UN lacks the authority to hold accountable those
who are found responsible. Troops stationed in Haiti under the UN mission are
subject only to the justice system of their home country. In 2011, four
Uruguayan troops were repatriated after a video surfaced showing the sexual
assault of a Haitian man. Though the case has dragged on in the Uruguayan legal
system, this week they were sentenced to two years and one month in prison.
However, as they served three months last year as the case progressed, they
will not have to return to prison, according to local
news reports

response to the ever-expanding list of sexual abuse allegations, MINUSTAH has
stepped up its efforts to train police and military on sexual conduct. The latest
of the Secretary General for the UN Security Council states that
1,074 personnel were put through “training sessions” and that MINUSTAH
leadership “consistently delivered a strong message to all staff members to
maintain the highest standards of conduct at all times.” But, without any real
authority to punish those who violate the standards, the number of sexual abuse
cases continues to rise. Through the first 8 months of 2013, there had already
been 13 allegations. The latest makes 14. While MINUSTAH makes up less than 10%
of UN peacekeeping forces worldwide, the mission has accounted for over 35% of
all sexual abuse and exploitation allegations against all such UN forces in