Four allegations of sexual misconduct against women and a 17-year-old boy by South African peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are being investigated by the South African National Defence Forces (SANDF).
The allegations against the South African soldiers, who are part of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo, were received by the UN last week, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric confirmed on Monday, adding that he welcomed SANDF’s commitment to getting to the bottom of the issue.
Three allegations of sexual exploitation allegedly took part in Sake, Beni and Goma in the DRC’s volatile North Kivu region “and involve adult victims, one of which includes a paternity and child support claim.”
Dujarric said the alleged attack on the 17-year-old boy took place in conflict-wracked Kasai and he was referred to the UN’s child organisation, UNICEF for immediate assistance.
Between 2004 and 2016, the UN received almost 2,000 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against its peacekeepers.
The organisation says it has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, but survivors, activists, lawyers and human rights organisations say such crimes have been allowed to continue with impunity.
There have since been reports of rape in the DRC, Mozambique, Eritrea and Somalia, of prostitution and trafficking in Bosnia and Liberia and of abuse of minors in Sierra Leone by UN peacekeepers.