Investigators sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo reported more than 150 cases of pedophilia, rape and soliciting prostitutes by United Nations officials and peacekeepers. The Washington Post reports that a confidential UN report describes the sexual exploitation as “significant, widespread, and ongoing.” According to the LA Times, some of the cases involved the use of pictures and videos.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan responded to the findings, stating, “I am afraid there is clear evidence that acts of gross misconduct have taken place. This is a shameful thing for the United Nations to have to say, and I am absolutely outraged by it,” reports the LA Times. Earlier this year, the UN Special Representative to Congo announced that the UN would start an investigation of reports that Tunisian and Uruguayan peacekeepers would give young girls aged 12 to 15 food for sex at a refugee town in Congo.
Jean-Marie Guehenno, the UN’s top peacekeeping official, has said that the UN would consider lifting the immunity of offending UN peacekeepers so that they may face prosecution, according to the Washington Post. However, other UN officials have stated that the UN has no such authority over foreign troops.
In previous years, UN peacekeepers have been linked to sex abuse in East Timor, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, reports the Associated Press.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .