News / Africa

    UN Mulls New Measures to Combat Peacekeeper Crimes

    FILE - U.N. peacekeepers take a break as they patrol along a street during the presidential election in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, Dec. 30, 2015.
    FILE - U.N. peacekeepers take a break as they patrol along a street during the presidential election in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, Dec. 30, 2015.
    Reuters

    The United Nations is considering new measures to crack down on sexual abuse by peacekeepers, including local prosecutions and registering personal details on blue helmets to make it easier to identify perpetrators, a U.N. official said on Wednesday.

    Over the past year the world body has been hit with numerous allegations of peacekeeper abuse, above all in the Central African Republic (CAR).

    In December an independent review panel accused the United Nations and its agencies of grossly mishandling allegations of child sexual abuse by foreign troops in CAR in 2013 and 2014.

    One of the problems, human rights groups say, is that it is up to U.N. troop-contributing countries to prosecute their soldiers accused of abuse. When such prosecutions happen, the groups say, they often take place quietly and it is difficult to follow up on the results and punishments, if any.

    Speaking to a small group of reporters, a senior U.N. official said the United Nations wanted to tackle that problem.

    One idea is that "whenever there is a case that is established, that there be a court-martial that is in theater, not back home in a sort of confidential context ... [but] publicly in the country where the actions were perpetrated," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    He added: "We might think about DNA registering of peacekeepers when they come to a mission."

    He declined to provide details and noted that both ideas were only at early stages as the United Nations worked to improve the performance of blue helmets in the field.

    The idea of prosecutions in theater would likely be unpopular among U.N. troop-contributing countries, U.N. diplomats and officials say, though they note it is an idea worth pursuing as a deterrent. Some countries already conduct prosecutions in theater, the U.N. official said.

    FILE - Three children living in the camp for Internally displaced people (IDP) of Mpoko, and claiming to be victims or witnesses of sexual abuse on minors by peacekeeper soldiers of the French Sangaris operation, posing in Bangui, Feb. 11, 2016.
    FILE - Three children living in the camp for Internally displaced people (IDP) of Mpoko, and claiming to be victims or witnesses of sexual abuse on minors by peacekeeper soldiers of the French Sangaris operation, posing in Bangui, Feb. 11, 2016.

    There have now been dozens of abuse accusations against international peacekeepers. The world body has pledged to crack down on charges of misconduct and abuse to avoid a repeat of past mistakes.

    Foreign troops were deployed in CAR after mainly Muslim rebels seized power in the majority Christian country in 2013, provoking reprisals and fueling religious and inter-communal violence that has killed thousands.

    French troops have been in the country since December 2013.

    European Union troops were there from April 2014 to March 2015.

    A U.N. peacekeeping mission assumed authority from African Union troops in September 2014.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora