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UN chief sends senior team to Haiti to investigate alleged sexual abuse by peacekeepers

(Xinhua)

10:33, September 15, 2011

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has sent a senior team to Haiti to enforce the United Nations' zero-tolerance policy on misconduct by its personnel following the alleged sexual assault of an 18-year-old Haitian man by Uruguayan members of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean nation, Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky said here on Wednesday.

The team, led by Assistant Secretary-General Anthony Banbury from the Department of Field Support, Military Adviser General Babacar Gaye and Police Adviser Ann-Marie Orler, will meet with leaders of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to support all necessary measures that it is taking to enforce zero tolerance, Nesirky told a daily news briefing.

It will also meet with the Haitian authorities to convey how seriously the UN and Ban himself take the allegations of misconduct and sexual abuse.

"The UN appreciates the swift response of the Government of Uruguay, including the investigation that is under way, and the Government's stated commitment to taking all appropriate disciplinary and, if required, judicial measures following the investigation," Nesirky said.

According to the agreements between the UN and the troop- contributing countries to peacekeeping missions, it is up to the authorities of those countries to shed light on such allegations. A Uruguayan team is currently in Haiti investigating the alleged attack.

The 12,000-strong MINUSTAH has been in Haiti since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest, and in his latest report, Ban calls for it to be extended for another year until Oct. 15, 2012.

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