Peace at What Price?: U.N. Sex Crimes in Congo

Buju had his own exposure to the U.N. problem when he said he witnessed two Pakistani U.N. troops sexually assault a teenage girl in a church convent one morning last spring. After filing a report with U.N. officials, he said he was promised that the two offending soldiers would be expelled from the U.N. mission. But one month ago, Buju said he saw one of the soldiers involved in the assault at a U.N. checkpoint 25 miles away.

No Child Left Behind?

Another gaping problem U.N. officials failed to address is the hundreds of babies born to Congolese women and fathered by U.N. personnel.

Aimee Tsesi, of Bunia, said her 15-year-old deaf mute daughter was raped and impregnated by a U.N. soldier from Uruguay, and that she was turned away at the gates of the U.N. camp when she went for assistance.

"The U.N. is not able to give me food or money for my grandson," she said. "But if the U.N. hadn't brought this soldier here my daughter would not have become pregnant. And I would not be going through this suffering."

"What's going to happen to those children?" Van Woudenberg asked. "These are not women who are likely to find a lot of support for their children. So this is creating a whole different level of problem in the Congo."

And as of now, the United Nations said it will not take direct responsibility for babies abandoned by its troops, though Swing said the mission is "currently looking at a way to have a clearer and more viable paternity policy."

On the issue of reducing sexual misconduct among U.N. peacekeepers, however, Swing took a vow of personal responsibility.

"When you have an issue as serious as sexual exploitation and abuse of poor people you're trying to help, the answer is no, one can never do enough," Swing said. "Did I do enough? No. Do I need to do more? Yes. And I will."

To date, of the hundreds of allegations of sex crimes involving U.N. personnel, only two have faced any kind of prosecution.

"There's a lot of good words being said and I think there's a lot of good will about trying to deal with this, but we're not seeing concrete actions," said Van Woudenberg. "If you rape someone you can go home and never have to face any kind of criminal prosecution or any kind of serious deterrent. "This is unacceptable. How can this go on?"

Simon Surowicz and Jessica Wang contributed to this report.

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