The United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the British Save the Children Organisation have presented a report on numerous cases of sexual exploitation of minors in refugee camps in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Conakry.
The report points out that some local workers of international organisations and Non-Government Organisations, such as UN agencies, have been “taking advantage of the aid and humanitarian programmes to indulge in sexual exploitation” of the children.
An investigation is under way to confirm the veracity of this claim. The report declares that the sexual abuse was perpetrated by male workers belonging to these organisations on female minors under their custody and states that this is common practice in the refugee camps in Liberia and Guinea-Conakry.
The report also says that apart from humanitarian workers, the children have also been abused by soldiers from the peace-keeping forces, local government officials and community leaders. Witnesses have named around 70 people, involved with more than 40 organisations.
The report was drawn up by special investigators from the UN office in new York, from the UNHCR general-inspectorate and independent specialists in child abuse. Kofi annan, UN Secretary-General, has declared that he is “disturbed and shocked” by the report’s allegations and that he intends to implement “urgent measures” to protect women and children in UN refugee camps.
A United Nations spokesperson said that the UNO has a “zero tolerance” policy on such crimes. The fact that the children are prey to abuse in the very places where they should expect to be protected adds a horrific twist to this tale
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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