Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions
I too want to state that I fully support and have great respect for the United Nations peacekeepers and indeed the veterans, many of whom I saw on parade on St. Patrick's Day. They are recognised all over the world. I thank the Minister for his reply. As I noted earlier, official UN statistics reveal that over the past five years, the UN has recognised the claims of 612 women and children who said they were victims of abuse, involving 353 separate claims against UN staff in peacekeeping operations alone. Some officials claim that the allegations represent only the tip of the iceberg and that the figure could be up to ten times that amount. It is truly horrifying. Some incidents involved multiple women or children claiming that they were abused by more than one perpetrator. It has been reported that, in 121 cases, the victims said they had been made pregnant by their attacker, with many mothers being children themselves when they were abused. Since the beginning of last year, a total of 21 of the abuse allegations relate to children, with seven claiming that their abuser left them pregnant. Dianne Penn has reported in Africa Renewal Online that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, says it has received details of allegations in the town of Bambari from a team of Human Rights Watch researchers.