Over a decade ago, a huge disaster destroyed the already struggling Haiti. After the earthquake, thousands of people were dead and injured. The United Nations (UN) peacekeepers are tasked to protect and help Haiti after a natural disaster happened.
However, reports show that these peacekeepers are said to have fathered hundreds of babies with local Haiti women and young girls. When the peacekeepers left Haiti, they also left behind and abandoned their alleged children in poverty. Because of this, the UN mission in Haiti has been in the middle of this controversy.
A paper published by Sabine Lee with the University of Birmingham and Susan Bartels with Queen’s University stated that the women describe the experiences of some of the people who were living under the “protection” of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti known as “MINUSTAH.”
Lee said, “We had plenty of stories of peacekeepers engaging with young girls and women under the age of 18.”
With interviews over 2,500 Haitian citizens, they spoke of the experiences of girls and women in the neighborhoods that hosted the soldiers. The study found out that around 10% of the 2,500 that were interviewed told of stories concerning peacekeepers that got a lot of Haiti women pregnant. What’s more alarming is that girls that are as young as 11 years old were said to have been sexually abused and impregnated by these soldiers. Then they left them to raise their children alone in poverty.
Allegedly, a few of the girls have traded sexual favors with soldiers for “a few coins” to buy food. Some girls were also said to have had sex with troops just for a single meal. One woman told researchers, “I see a series of females, 12 and 13 years old here. [Peacekeepers] impregnated and left them in misery with babies in their hands.”
Those who were interviewed said that the babies left by these troopers are nicknamed. People are calling them names like “bébés casques bleus” or “blue helmet babies. Some are called “Petit MINUSTAH,” and “les enfants abandonnés par la MINUSTAH” translated as the children abandoned by the MINUSTAH. These names suggest that the children are destined to struggle in the future because of the stigma that they could not control.
MINUSTAH had previously been linked to a sex ring operating in Haiti. A total of 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers had been exposed for exploiting nine children in a secret sex ring from 2004 to 2007. And even before that, after the 2010 earthquake, the Nepalese soldiers accidentally introduced a widespread cholera outbreak that is said to have killed 10,000 people.
This was followed by a charitable organization named Oxfam that lost thousands of donors. This was after reports revealed that they have covered up an investigation of their staff members who were accused of paying for sex while serving in Haiti way back in 2010.
MINUSTAH has also been accused of raping a developmentally challenged 14-year-old boy. In addition, they were also accused of gang rape, torture, exploitation, mysterious deaths, and so much more.
The United Nations spokesperson released a statement regarding the issue saying that the UN remains to be committed to addressing and resolving cases of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by its personnel and supporting victims and their families. They also added that allegations against the peacekeepers in Haiti have been generally declining since 2013.