LATIN-AMERICA

Chilean Army to Investigate Abuses During Haiti Peace Mission

SANTIAGO – A special commission will investigate alleged abuse by Chilean soldiers during the peace mission in Haiti. The Conversation recently reported Chilean troops were involved in the abuse of Haitian women and minors. The same report said Chilean soldiers fathered at least 20 children in Haiti.

Chilean troops were involved in the abuse and rape of Haitian women and minors during the 13-year peace mission in that country, a report by The Conversation said. The US-American news platform conducted an investigation, interviewing 2,500 Haitian women and girls about their experiences of living in communities that hosted peace support operations. The outcome was shocking, investigators said. “Girls as young as 11 were sexually abused and impregnated by peacekeepers and then, as one man put it, ‘left in misery’ to raise their children alone, often because the fathers are repatriated once the pregnancy becomes known.”

About 10% of respondents said peacekeepers abused women and fathered hundreds of children. Their mothers were left in poverty and suffered from social stigma and traumas. One respondent describing a particular case said a woman “was pregnant from a soldier of the MINUSTAH…[He] was moved from his station and left his post and was never seen again.”

Chilean troops played a major role in this scandal, the study confirms. Through interviews about the so-called “peacekeeper babies” investigators found 20 cases where a Chilean was the father, only topped by Brazil and Uruguay (see chart below).

Chilean Commission to Investigate

Jaime Naranjo, president of the Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee, said Tuesday that an investigative commission will look into the alleged abuse by Chilean troops. According to news outlet Biobío.cl, Naranjo called the facts reported extremely serious. “They must be investigated in depth. During the peace mission, about 12,000 Chilean troops were in Haiti, and we cannot let abuse or rapes against minors happen.”

The UN’s stabilisation mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) ran from 2004 until 2017. During that period, the country suffered from political instability and natural disasters. The mission became highly controversial after it emerged peacekeeping troops were involved in sexual abuse and murder. Dozens of peacekeepers from Sri Lanka were accused of exploiting a group of minors for years. They were sent home by the UN after the story came out and were never prosecuted. The study by The Conversation confirms that this was no isolated incident: abuse and rape were peacekeepers’ weapons during their mission.

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