Above: peacekeepers in Haiti’s Cite Soleil (UN Photo)
A high-level contingent of Uruguayan investigators has arrived in Haiti to probe the alleged sexual assault of a young man by Uruguyan peacekeepers working for the UN.
UN spokesperson Eliane Nabaa told a news conference in Port-au-Prince that, should the allegations prove true, the UN has procedures to support the victim with legal, medical and psychosocial aid.
“While such behaviour is profoundly troubling and inexcusable, the actions of a few unfortunately have the effect of tarnishing those thousands of others — military, police and cilivians — who have served MINUSTAH with distinction since 2004,” she said.
The four peacekeepers accused of the assault are being confined to barracks at the Uruguayan base in Les Cayes, the UN said, and the commander has been relieved of his duties by his country’s military.
“At a time when Haiti so desperately needs a committed leadership with a common set of priorities, antagonisms between opposing political forces are casting a shadow on the country’s recent democratic success and threatening its progress towards lasting stability,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his August report. “It is the responsibility of all actors to ensure that this trend is reversed and that the promising gains made in recent years are preserved.”