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South Sudan Summons UN Official over Sex Crimes by Peacekeepers

South Sudan Summons UN Official over Sex Crimes by Peacekeepers

Saturday, 3 March, 2018 - 07:15
UN peacekeepers secure a section of the airport on August 12, 2014 as members of the United Nations Security Council arrive in the South Sudanese capital, Juba. AFP

South Sudan’s government has called for a joint investigation with the United Nations over sexual crimes committed by UN peacekeepers in northwestern Wau state.

The South Sudanese foreign ministry summoned on Friday the chief of staff of The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to hand him an official protest note on the sexual exploitation of women in Wau.

The ministry said that a joint committee with independent members should carry out an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Last Saturday, forty-six UN peacekeepers from Ghana were recalled from their base following the allegations of sexual exploitation of women sheltering at the site.

The 46 police were confined to barracks in Juba after a preliminary investigation showed that the Ghanaians were "engaging in sexual activity with women" living at a UN site to protect civilians in Wau, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

South Sudan’s Minister of Information Michael Makuei said the members of the UN mission should be taken to a swift trial, adding their involvement in sex crimes is a blatant violation of the country’s laws.

About 200,000 South Sudanese are sheltering at UN sites protected by UNMISS peacekeepers.

The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan has recently issued a report on horrors and extraordinary cruelty in the country’s civil war.

Sexual violence was particularly prevalent, it said.

Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita told the UN Security Council last month that a political solution to the ongoing conflict is the most effective way to protect civilians.

"A sustainable political resolution of the conflict is also the only avenue to chalk out a viable exit strategy" for UNMISS, she said.

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