U.N. Peacekeepers Accused of Raping Children in Central African Republic

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Two soldiers dragged a 14-year-old girl into the tall grass in November. One held her down, the other raped her.

That same month, a 30-year-old woman was approached by a man in uniform.

“We are going to have sex like a man and wife,” he said. She tried to resist, was punched in the face and was then raped.

Another girl, 14, was walking down a path in the bush when she was approached in late December.

“He ripped off my clothes and used them to tie my hands behind my back,” she said.

These three incidents are among eight sexual abuse allegations documented by Human Rights Watch from October to December 2015 in the Central African Republic.

All of them were allegedly committed by United Nations peacekeepers.

“In a country where armed groups routinely prey on civilians, peacekeepers should be protectors, not predators,” Hillary Margolis, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a news release.

The rights group conducted its research from January 16 to 30 in Bambari, where the Democratic Republic of Congo has deployed approximately 800 soldiers.

Human Rights Watch said all of the victims it spoke with believed the peacekeepers that assaulted them were from the Republic of Congo or from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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SOURCE: CNN, Joshua Berlinger and David McKenzie,