UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The United Nations did not adequately respond to multiple allegations of foreign soldiers' abuse of children in the Central African Republic, an independent review panel has determined.
The panel submitted a 97-page report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon received outlining the ways in which the UN handled allegations of sexual exploitation and child abuse by peacekeeping troops. The investigators said U.N. officials were slow to respond to the allegations and allowed documents to "pass from inbox to inbox" without any resolution.
After receiving the report, Ban issued a statement saying it "depicts a United Nations that failed to respond meaningfully when faced with information about reprehensible crimes against vulnerable children...though the soldiers who committed the abuses were not under United Nations command, the report shows that the United Nations, which uncovered the abuse, did not subsequently handle the case with the speed, care or sensitivity required."
Ban pledged to review the recommendations in the report.
A report leaked in April blamed French peacekeeping troops for allegedly sexually exploiting children, and was passed to French authorities after U.N. Director of Field Operations Anders Kompass said the UN failed to stop the abuse.
The UN's peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic launched an investigation into an alleged sexual assault of an underage girl by one of its personnel in June. The investigation led to the resignation of Babacar Gaye, UN envoy to the Central African Republic.
A French peacekeeping soldier was accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the Central African Republic in September, following the suspension of two French soldiers in nearby Burkina Faso for similar crimes.