A French soldier serving in France's Sangaris peacekeeping military campaign has been accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the Central African Republic (CAR), the latest in a series of sex abuse allegations against French troops and UN peacekeepers posted in the region.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who is currently visiting CAR, issued a statement on Thursday that said the latest alleged incident of abuse occurred "around one year ago," and that the victim was "in her late teens" at the time of the attack.
The girl, said Zeid, gave birth to a child in April and has filed a paternity case with local authorities. Zeid added that UN staff in CAR were informed of the allegations on August 30 and had alerted the French authorities.
The French government told AFP Thursday that French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had "ordered an immediate command investigation," and that the case would be handed over to the public prosecutor in Paris. The Paris public prosecutor's office was unable to comment on the investigation when contacted on Friday by VICE News.
"Although this particular case did not involve UN peacekeepers, there have been a number of other cases in CAR — and elsewhere — which have," said Zeid, who added that governments with a military presence in foreign countries had "an obligation" to investigate cases of abuse "in a timely manner."
The latest accusation comes a year after a senior UN human rights official leaked a confidential report on the sexual abuse of homeless children by French troops stationed in CAR capital Bangui as part of Operation Sangaris. According to the report, French soldiers raped starving children as young as nine at the M'Poko refugee camp near the Bangui airport in exchange for food.
Source- Vice News