French President Francois Hollande will “show no mercy” in the child sexual abuse investigation that is being conducted at the moment after incriminating information has been leaked last year regarding French soldiers deployed in the Central African Republic.
Swedish national Anders Kompass is the man who took the information to the French authorities, after claiming that his UN superiors had failed to take action in this very grave situation. He is now in Geneva and faces serious consequences for his actions, as he is being accused of breaking protocol. He has already been suspended and is further facing dismissal.
However, the Swedish foreign ministry regards Kompass’ suspension as being “worrying”. They point out that the UN should have a zero tolerance policy against the sexual abuse of children and believes that the investigation of the French soldiers is the most pressing matter at the moment.
The French government responded to this, explaining that they opened an investigation immediately after Kompass’ information was released in July last year and that they have sent investigators in the Central African Republic in August.
The information that Kompass leaked was a UN report of the investigation that they had conducted into this matter and it revealed that 10 children, with ages between 8 and 15, had been sexually abused while at the center for displaced people located near the airport in Bangui between December 2013 and June 2014.
Paula Donovan, co-director of the US-based advocacy group Aids-Free World revealed that the report contained interviews with six children that related how they had been asked for sexual favors by the French peacemakers in exchange for food. “The children were saying that they were hungry and they thought that they could get some food from the soldiers. The answer was ‘if you do this, then I will give you food’,”, she said.
These accusations are horrible and if the French soldiers are found guilty during the trial, they face the harshest of consequences. For the moment however, the investigation is still ongoing.
France sent troops to the Central African Republic in December 2013 when the country was facing terrible violence as a result of a coup that took place in March that overthrew local leader Francois Bozize. Since then however, the situation has taken a turn for the worse, presently leaving around 10% of the population displaced and in danger. Furthermore, about half of the country’s population is currently living in dire poverty and is in great need of help from humanitarian organizations.
France will continue to keep its soldiers in the Central African Republic, in order to continue to help those in need, Francois Hollande will “show no mercy” in the child sexual abuse investigation and promises that those guilty will receive the harshest penitence possible.
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