Source: ABC News
This is Didier Bourguet. He’s a United Nations senior official from France accused of running an Internet pedophile ring in the Congo, where the U.N. was supposed to be protecting vulnerable people.
Last night on ABC’s 20/20, one of the MSM’s best investigative reporters, Brian Ross, broadcast a damning segment on Bourguet and the festering U.N. sex scandal. The L.A. Times followed up on Ross’s report today:
A scandal about the sexual abuse of Congolese women and children by U.N. officials and peacekeepers intensified Friday with the broadcast of explicit pictures of a French U.N. worker and Congolese girls and his claim that there was a network of pedophiles at the U.N. mission in Congo.
ABC News’ “20/20″ program showed pictures taken from the computer of a French U.N. transport worker. The hard drive reportedly contained thousands of photos of him with hundreds of girls. In one frame, a tear can be seen rolling down the cheek of a victim…
…Bourguet, 41, is facing charges of sexual abuse and rape in France. His lawyer, Claude de Boosere- Lepidi, said in court last week that there was a network of U.N. personnel who had sex with underage girls and that Bourguet had engaged in similar activity in a previous U.N. posting in the Central African Republic.
Bourguet’s case is the only one that has been prosecuted among 150 allegations against about 50 soldiers and U.N. civilian officials who have served in the Congo peacekeeping mission. At least seven cases of sexual exploitation and abuse have been documented against peacekeepers based in Bunia, a northeastern town. One civilian has been suspended until the investigation is complete, and another has resigned. The U.N. is conducting further investigations and expects to find more cases.
Scandals involving the UN, the US military, and the coterie of defense contractors hired by the Defense Department are not rare. But rarely are the stories as well-documented, with so many high-profile advocates going on record, as the child prostitution and trafficking scandal which drew a dark curtain over the closing days of the United Nations policing force in Bosnia.
To date, not a single person has been charged for engaging in pedophilia with child prostitutes in Bosnia – and among the accused are several Americans.
Kudos to Brian Ross for digging into yet another U.N. atrocity. Didier Bourguet is the tip of a scandalous iceberg. For the sake of young girls and women in U.N. peacekeeping regions around the world, let’s hope the rest of the American MSM do a better job of jumping on the story than they did with Darfur, Oil for Food, and Rwanda.
The Belmont Club from November 2004.
The UK Times Online reported in December 2004 on videos of Congolese girls being raped:
The prospect of the pornographic videos and photographs — now on sale in Congo — becoming public worries senior UN officials, who fear a UN version of the scandal at the American-run Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. “It would be a pretty big problem for the UN if these pictures come out,” one senior official said.
Investigations have already turned up 150 allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers and UN staff despite the UN’s official policy of “zero-tolerance”. One found 68 allegations of misconduct in the town of Bunia alone.
UN insiders told The Times that two Russian pilots based in Mbandaka paid young girls with jars of mayonnaise and jam to have sex with them.
They filmed the sessions and sent the tapes to Russia. But the men were tipped off and left the area before UN investigators arrived.
The Moroccan peacekeeping contingent based in Kisangani — a town on the Congo River with no road links to the outside world — had one of the worst reputations. A soldier accused of rape was apparently hidden in the barracks for a year.
In July 2002 the rebel commander Major-General Jean Pierre Ondekane, who subsequently became Minister of Defence in a postwar transitional government, told a top UN official that all that Monuc (the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) would be remembered for in Kisangani was “for running after little girls”.
An international organisation examining the sex trade between Monuc and local women found that in March there were 82 women and girls who had been made pregnant by Moroccan men and 59 more by Uruguayan men.
According to UN insiders, at least two UN officials — a Ukrainian and a Canadian — have had to leave the country after getting local women pregnant.
Jordan’s Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a special adviser to the UN Secretary-General, who led one investigative team, said in a confidential report obtained by The Times: “The situation appears to be one of ‘zero-compliance with zero- tolerance’ throughout the mission.”
Joseph Loconte’s investigative piece in the Weekly Standard last month:
Kofi Annan has insisted on “zero tolerance” of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers, but U.N. rules apply only to U.N. employees; military personnel fall under the jurisdiction of their own governments. Only a few peacekeepers have been deported, and no U.N. staff have been charged with criminal activity.
That’s prompting tough talk from some U.S. officials about American assistance for U.N. peacekeeping missions. The United States will give $490 million next year to support about 62,000 military personnel and civilian police serving in 16 U.N. operations around the world. “Until the U.N. is willing to take decisive action and take responsibility for these acts, we should look seriously at the funding portion of the peace-keeping operations,” says a foreign policy aide to Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I don’t know any other way to force Annan to pay attention.”
This latest U.N. episode, piled on top of the ongoing Oil for Food scandal in Iraq, may help focus the mind. The sexual abuses committed, or ignored, by U.N. personnel violate the institution’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A 2002 U.N. report characterized the sexual exploitation issue as “a betrayal of trust as well as a catastrophic failure of protection.”
Peacekeepers as predators? It’s difficult to see how another U.N. probe, proclamation, or committee report could reverse that perception anytime soon.
McQ is following the story. Ace sez: “The UN: We’re Not Just About Billion-Dollar Corruption Schemes. We Also Rape Children.” Hennessy teaches a college undergrad about the United Nations of Evil. Mostly Africa blogged on reports of sexual abuse in December 2003.
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