UN chief promises full probe into child abuse

May 28th, 2008 - 2:29 pm ICT by admin  

New York, May 28 (DPA) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday reports of child abuse by UN peacekeepers and aid workers was a “significant and painful issue” that needs to be addressed comprehensively and robustly. “Even one incident is one incident too many,” Ban said in a statement read by a spokesperson.

“The secretary general is deeply concerned by the Save the Children report focusing on the under-reporting of child sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers and peacekeepers,” Michelle Montas said.

Montas said the UN has been trying to train and monitor its people in the field and that they are required to show the highest standards of conduct.

The report by the British group Save the Children said a global monitoring group is urgently needed to stop UN personnel from abusing children in war zones and disaster areas.

They said the scale of the problem remained “significant” and that children as young as six were being raped, forced into prostitution and also coerced into swapping sex for food, money, soap and sometimes mobile phones.

“This research exposes the despicable actions of a small number of perpetrators who are sexually abusing some of the most vulnerable children in the world, the very children they are meant to protect,” Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children UK, said.

The charity’s report No One To Turn To, which queried hundreds of children in southern Sudan, Ivory Coast and Haiti, found that incidents were being chronically underreported as many children were too afraid to report abuse.

“People don’t report it because they are worried that the agency will stop working here, and we need them,” a teenage boy in southern Sudan told the charity.

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