Saturday, March 26, 2016

Africa Central to Today's Posts

It's a complicated narrative, but....

War-torn Central African Republic bids for peace in key vote

"Central African Republic voters seek leader to end chaos" Associated Press  February 15, 2016

BANGUI, Central African Republic — Central African Republic went ahead with a presidential runoff vote Sunday that many hope will affirm a tentative peace after more than two years of sectarian fighting left thousands dead and forced nearly 500,000 people to flee to neighboring countries.

Armored UN personnel carriers roamed the streets of the capital, Bangui, as residents headed to the polls on foot and by motorcycle. Some 2,000 UN peacekeepers were deployed in the capital while 8,000 others tried to secure the vote in the largely anarchic provinces.

Sunday’s vote was absent the gunfire heard during earlier balloting, though many voters complained that their names weren’t on the list at their polling station while others were turned away for lack of photo identification. Results were not expected for days.

Residents set aside painful memories of the chaos that intensified in late 2013 when Christian militia fighters attacked Bangui, unleashing cycles of retaliatory violence.

A new spasm of violence late last year effectively barricaded most of Bangui’s remaining Muslims inside one district for several months, while scores of homes were razed in Christian neighborhoods....


Let's start counting the votes:

"A former prime minister who placed second in the first round of balloting has won Central African Republic's presidential runoff vote, the national election body announced Saturday, and he inherits the enormous task of trying to restore order in a country where heavily armed rebel groups still control large swaths of territory. Faustin Archange Touadera, 58, earned nearly 63 percent of the vote held Feb. 14, according to provisional results announced Saturday. He bested Anicet Georges Dologuele, another former prime minister."

"In the Central African Republic on Sunday, Faustin Archange Touadera, a former prime minister, was declared the winner of the Feb. 14 runoff vote for president, getting nearly 63 percent of the vote. His rival, Anicet Georges Dologuele, promptly acknowledged his defeat though he expressed concern about irregularities. Many hope the vote will strengthen the country’s tentative peace after more than two years of sectarian fighting left untold thousands dead and forced nearly 500,000 people to flee to neighboring countries. But Touadera inherits the enormous task of trying to restore order in a country where heavily armed rebel groups still control large swaths of territory. In his first remarks since the provisional results were announced, Touadera said Sunday he hoped to make Central African Republic “united, cohesive, and prosperous” while creating jobs and reducing poverty."

You don't see much in the ma$$ media regarding Central American refugees, do you? 

If I didn't know better, I'd think the bastion of Jewish supremacism was racist.

"In the Central African Republic, voters over the weekend selected the first elected government in three years in the poverty-stricken country, which is emerging from a civil war.

A former prime minister, Faustin Archange Touadéra, was elected president, according to preliminary results. He received nearly 63 percent of the votes in a runoff election, the National Elections Authority said.

The results must be confirmed by the country’s constitutional court, but are expected to stand after Touadéra’s main rival said he would not contest them.

Touadéra said he would focus on building the battered economy of a country that is one of the poorest in Africa.

“We, Central Africans of all regions, religions, social status and generations, are going to transform our country into a vast workshop that offers job opportunities to young people and creates wealth that is redistributed equally,” the president-elect said. 

They elected a socialist?

Anicet-Georges Dologuélé, who led after the first round of voting in December, conceded the election an hour after the results were announced. He said the balloting had been marred by widespread fraud, but urged his supporters to remain peaceful and “accompany the new president in his endeavor to rebuild the country.”

Election monitors said that although some fraud occurred at some polling stations, it would not have altered the final vote.

Touadéra, 58, is a former mathematics professor and a former rector of the University of Bangui. He was prime minister under President François Bozizé from 2008 until 2013, and quit just before Bozizé was overthrown by mainly Muslim rebels known as the Seleka.

A downward spiral of sectarian strife followed the ouster of Bozizé, as a mostly Christian militia known as the anti-Balaka launched counterattacks against the Seleka; thousands of people were killed, and nearly a quarter of the population was displaced.

The new government, which should be established by mid-April after parliamentary elections, will put an end to a transitional government that was put in place in 2014 as part of a peace plan to end the conflict." 

I did a search and I couldn't come up with anything specific regarding past Central African posts here, and it's not important anyway. 

This is:

"More cases of UN sexual abuse in Africa reported" by Jamey Keaten Associated Press  January 29, 2016

GENEVA — The U.N. human rights office says it has turned up six more cases of alleged sexual abuse against children by European troops in Central African Republic, including a 7-year-old girl who said she had to perform sexual acts on soldiers in exchange for water and cookies. 

Isn't that France's sphere of influence?

A U.N. team recently interviewed five girls and a boy who claimed their abusers were part of French and European Union military operations in the troubled African country, the office of High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said.

The sexual abuse allegedly took place in 2014 in or near a camp for displaced people near M’Poko airport in CAR’s capital, Bangui, but only came to light in recent weeks, the latest in a string of similar allegations.

France, Central African Republic’s former colonial ruler, deployed several thousand troops to the country in late 2013 as violence between Christians and Muslims sent thousands fleeing from their homes. An African Union mission that began in April 2014 was taken over by a U.N. peacekeeping force five months later, while the EU force ended an 11-month mission in March last year.

At a news conference later Friday in New York, the U.N. announced new allegations against U.N. peacekeepers as well. Assistant Secretary-General Anthony Banbury came close to tears as he described four new child sex abuse cases in CAR involving U.N. troops and police from Bangladesh, Congo, Niger and Senegal.

Always grabbing a piece of something.

He also announced an allegation of sexual assault against a minor by a member of Morocco’s military contingent serving with the earlier AU mission.

For all of 2015, Banbury said, there are likely to be 69 confirmed allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation in the U.N.’s 16 peacekeeping missions around the world, including 22 in CAR. That’s up from 51 in 2014, when there were no reported cases in CAR, he said.

In a shift for the world body, Banbury said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will issue a report next month with details of all allegations from 2015, including the names of countries whose troops are accused. The information, including the status of investigations, will be regularly updated online, he said.

We are either still waiting or there has been no report on it.

‘‘It’s hard to imagine the outrage that people working for the United Nations in the causes of peace and security feel when these kinds of allegations come to light,’’ Banbury said, his voice breaking.

Along with contempt and disgust.

The U.N. is under pressure to act more quickly after an independent panel last month described the world body’s ‘‘gross institutional failure’’ in handling similar allegations in CAR against French and other peacekeepers. The panel’s report said the months-long delay in addressing children’s accounts of abuse had led to even more reported assaults.

T's almost as if they are abetting such things, and that is where my print copy cut it.

The U.N. can report such allegations, but countries themselves are responsible for prosecuting their troops over such crimes. Many do not.

The U.N. rights office said three of the girls said they believed their abusers were members of a Georgian contingent within a European Union force, and another girl was allegedly abused by a soldier from another European country that was not named because ‘‘additional corroboration is needed’’ in that case.

U.N. staffers interviewed a 7-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy who said they had been abused by troops in the French ‘‘Sangaris’’ operation. The girl said she had performed ‘‘oral sex on French soldiers in exchange for a bottle of water and a sachet of cookies,’’ the statement from Zeid’s office said. 

I'm speechless.

A spokesman for Zeid’s office said the 7-year-old was the youngest alleged victim so far in any of the CAR cases. The two children said other children were abused in a similar fashion in repeated incidents involving several French soldiers, according to the statement.

France’s U.N. Mission tweeted on Friday: ‘‘France remains very mobilized in fight against violence and #sexualabuses & against impunity for those responsible.’’ 


The EU’s foreign affairs service said the European Union was informed of the allegations on Jan. 19 and immediately offered assistance to the U.N. investigators.

‘‘The EU takes these allegations very seriously,’’ said the statement.

Georgia’s Defense Ministry said it received the allegations ‘‘with great concern,’’ adding that ‘‘it is our goal to investigate this matter in great detail and in case such grave crimes are proven, perpetrators of such crimes will be brought to justice.’’

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for Zeid’s office, estimated that troops from ‘‘something like 10’’ foreign military contingents in CAR have now been embroiled in sexual misconduct allegations. He said it was difficult to estimate how many individual soldiers might have been involved. 

And they came to help.

‘‘What is abundantly clear in the CAR is that it’s been rampant,’’ Colville told reporters. ‘‘What this does show is this is a problem with armies, with the military forces, and for whatever reason not enough is being done to stop this happening — the message doesn’t seem to have got through.’’

He said he was unaware of any convictions so far in any of the cases that have been brought to light.

Banbury said the U.N. was taking new steps to protect against sexual abuse, promote accountability and assist victims. Every single member of peacekeeping forces is now vetted, he said, and those involved in prior misconduct, human rights violations or serious crimes are not allowed to serve.

This when the U.N. can't even scrape together enough troops to fulfill their commitments.

Other changes include acting within 24 hours of an allegation to collect evidence, including using rape kits and specially trained investigators. The U.N. is also asking troop-contributing countries to conclude their investigations of allegations within six months and report results — and ‘‘we now proactively suspend payments for personnel who are credibly accused of abuse,’’ Banbury said.

He also urged others to come forward with allegations, saying that people who don’t report the information they receive are ‘‘complicit in the crime.’’


Their credibility just crashed

At least the elections went off without a hitch.


"UN announces 108 new alleged sexual abuse victims in CAR" Associated Press  March 31, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations on Thursday announced 108 new alleged victims of sexual abuse, the vast majority of them minors, by peacekeepers in Central African Republic, and it called ‘‘shocking to the core’’ the report that three girls said a French military commander forced them to have sex with a dog.

That's beyond depravity to a place I can't describe.

The revelations dramatically widened the scope of a sexual abuse scandal that has persisted for months. France’s U.N. ambassador, Francois Delattre, called the allegations ‘‘sickening and odious’’ and promised ‘‘exemplary disciplinary action’’ if they’re proven true. 

Maybe the U.N. isn't there to help after all.

The allegations, dating from 2013 through last year, were first announced by a U.S.-based advocacy group, AIDS-Free World, late Wednesday. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Thursday told reporters that the U.N. can’t confirm the allegations involving a dog at this point but that investigations continue.

AIDS-Free World said Wednesday night that 98 girls in Central African Republic, also known as CAR, had reported being sexually abused between 2013 and 2015 by perpetrators who have left the country. It also said information on the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl by a Congolese peacekeeper only three days ago in a hotel room has been turned over to the United Nations.

The United Nations has been in the spotlight for months over dozens of allegations of child rape and other sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, especially those based in Central African Republic, which has faced sectarian violence since 2013. There have been similar allegations against the French force known as Sangaris, which operates independently in CAR.

‘‘We must face the fact that a number of troops sent to protect people instead acted with hearts of darkness,’’ Dujarric said Thursday.

The U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in a statement called the allegations ‘‘sickening’’ and said all three countries whose peacekeepers are accused — Burundi, Gabon and France — have been formally notified. He said governments must do more to stop abuse and hold their troops accountable, ‘‘otherwise this awful cycle of abuse will never end.’’

Who do you think is protecting them?

Dujarric said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that U.N. actions must be matched by those of member states, ‘‘who alone have the power to discipline their forces with real consequences.’’

The United Nations has more than 100,000 peacekeepers deployed in 16 missions around the world.

(Blog editor shudders at the thought)

Dujarric said last week that a U.N. team was sent to gather information about recently reported allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. and non-U.N. forces as well as civilians in Kemo prefecture, east of the capital Bangui, in 2014 and 2015. He said in a note to correspondents late Wednesday that the new allegations went back to 2013 and included allegations against local armed groups.

Dujarric said that for the first time the United Nations would be jointly investigating the allegations with Burundi and Gabon.

The U.N. recently reported that 25 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation were registered with the U.N. mission in Central African Republic in January and February, most from previous years. That compares with a total of six allegations in the 15 other U.N. peacekeeping missions in the first two months of this year, the U.N. peacekeeping department said.

A U.N. report earlier this month said there were 69 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers in 2015 — 22 of them in CAR.

AIDS-Free World called the information it received ‘‘shocking.’’ Two weeks ago, it said, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF interviewed 98 girls who reported being sexually abused.

The group said a delegation from the U.N. peacekeeping mission on Saturday met local leaders and victims who alleged that troops from France and Gabon had sexually abused girls. Some victims left the area because they were stigmatized by the community, it said.

During the delegation’s visit, AIDS-Free World said the three girls reported being tied up inside a camp by a French military commander. After having sex with the dog, the group said, each girl was given 5,000 Central African Francs, or about $9.

One girl told the U.N. human rights officer that a fourth girl who later died of an unknown disease ‘‘was called ‘the Sangaris’ dog’ by people in the community.’’

AIDS-Free World also said the mother of a 16-year-old girl informed local police in another part of CAR that a Congolese U.N. peacekeeper raped her daughter in a hotel room Monday afternoon.

The group said that when the soldier was questioned by police in the presence of his commander, he confirmed that he ‘‘had sexual intercourse’’ with the victim several times and paid her between 2,000 and 5,000 Central African Francs.


I know where some cells have opened up so maybe they could send the sick and twisted perverts there.

Related: Group reports 41 new sex abuse cases in C.African Republic

Investigators need to be ‘‘careful and methodical’’ in interviewing victims.