Haiti By Force
Challenging UN apathy in the face of mounting sexual assault cases involving Peacekeeping forces
For nearly a decade UN peacekeepers have stayed immune to criminal liability while facing allegations of rape and sexual exploitation across the globe. We hear from victims of their abuses in Haiti.
"I'm walking around in the streets feeling like a destitute because of the UN", says a Haitian single mother. She alleges that she was raped by a UN peacekeeper at 17. The UN cites 85 allegations of sex abuse in Haiti from 2008-2015, however most women never report their rapes. Independent estimates put the number of rape or exploitation victims since 2005 at the hands of UN personnel closer to 500. "It's a big issue for us, because it's the UN who promote human rights", says Mario Joseph, the lawyer best known for suing MINUSTAH over the cholera epidemic. "I'm trying to make the UN responsible", says Joseph. He claims the UN failed to cooperate with legal notices over the paternity claims of the 9 women he represents. "In our records you don't have a case like this in the last three years", says General Ajax, now in charge of the UN soldiers in Haiti. But this report finds single mothers with children conceived by rape within this period. Their claims remain "unsubstantiated" in the eyes of the UN. "It means there is not sufficient evidence to prosecute in a court of law", says Atul Khare, Under-Secretary General for the UN's Field Support.