UN says probing allegations of sexual exploitation in S. Sudan

April 24, 2018 (JUBA) – The United Nations mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said it launched investigations into allegations of sexual exploitation by a unit of Nepalese peacekeepers in South Sudan.

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A Nepalese UNAMID peacekeeper

UNMISS said four teenagers were caught on 13 April trying to enter its base in the central town of Aweil through the perimeter fence.

It was alleged, the world body said in a statement issued Tuesday, that one of the teenaged girls had been touched inappropriately by a member of the Nepalese contingent in exchange for money.

“The UNMISS deployed a Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Immediate Response Team (IRT) to Aweil to gather information and preserve evidence prior to the launch of an investigation by the troop-contributing country concerned,” partly reads UNMISS’s statement.

The UN mission, however, denied allegations of rape labeled against the peacekeepers, saying the matter was reported to the Office of Internal Oversight Services, an agency independent from UNMISS.

“The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal has been notified by the UN of the allegation and is in the process of appointing a team of National Investigation Officers who will conduct an investigation as per normal procedures relating to military contingents,” said UNMISS.

UNMISS said it has a zero tolerance, no excuses and no second chances approach to sexual exploitation and abuse, adding it is committed to putting the victims’ rights and dignity first and ensuring that there is transparency and accountability for such actions.

It said it notified the Nepalese government about the allegations and that Nepal is in the process of appointing a probe team.

In February, UNMISS recalled a unit of 46 Ghanaian police officers from the town of Wau and confined them to their base in Juba following allegations they were engaged in sexual activity with women under their protection in a UN protection of civilians site.