Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Investigative Report Highlights Systemic Nature of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in MINUSTAH

While instances of sexual exploitation and abuse have been widely documented in the MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission, a new investigative report suggests that the number of formal allegations drastically underrepresents the extent of the crimes; sexual exploitation and abuse in MINUSTAH indicates a systemic problem in both the peacekeeping mission and the UN’s approach to bringing justice to the survivors. UN actions to address issues of sexual exploitation and abuse have been inadequate to affect real change, and have even deterred more people from reporting. This report highlights the preliminary findings from a 27-day investigation by independent investigator Mark Snyder, and strongly urges the UN to launch an immediate and in-depth investigation into the abuses.

Click HERE to watch a new Fault Lines documentary entitled “Haiti By Force: UN Sex Abuse.”

Part of the introduction to the investigative report is shown below. Click HERE for the full report.

UN SEA: Sexual Exploitation and Abuse at the Hands of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Investigative Report)

Mark Snyder, Center for Economic and Policy Research

January 2017

Investigative Overview: A preliminary independent investigation conducted in areas close to existing or abandoned bases for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) brings to light the alarming magnitude of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) at the hands of United Nations personnel in Haiti. The purpose of this investigation is to determine if the initial unreported cases brought to the attention of the author were isolated incidents or are instead a result of a systemic problem present in the UN’s mission in Haiti. In consultation with Haitian civil society partners, the following report considers that a further, in-depth investigation into these abuses is vital and urgent.

The results of our investigation strongly suggest that the issue of SEA by United Nations personnel in Haiti is substantial and has been grossly underreported. Using the same methodology in all areas where MINUSTAH bases are or have been located[i], a thorough and in-depth investigation would be expected to identify close to 600 victims who would agree to in-person interviews. This number in itself indicates a victim count that requires immediate attention and significant modifications to current MINUSTAH peacekeeping operations, including with regard to the manner in which UN SEA cases are investigated and reported. These preliminary findings are based on the work of one investigator during 27 days of investigation. Through a network of community contacts in eight areas where there currently is, or where there has been a MINUSTAH base, the investigation identified 42 UN SEA victims who agreed to be interviewed. With a professional investigative team, comprised of individuals with specialized expertise and the resources to cover the entire country, the likely number of documented UN SEA allegations from victims would be expected to be significantly higher.

Click HERE for the full report.

Click HERE to watch a documentary about UN sexual exploitation and abuse in Haiti.

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