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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 21:32 GMT
Annan admits UN DR Congo abuses
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan said he had received a detailed briefing
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has said there is clear evidence that UN staff sexually abused refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Allegations of abuse at UN camps surfaced last year, prompting the UN's internal watchdog to launch an inquiry.

After being briefed on its progress, Mr Annan said a small number of civilian and military personnel had committed "shameful" acts of gross misconduct.

He added that those involved must be held accountable.

Two years ago, a UN investigation rejected similar allegations of sexual exploitation of refugees by UN staff in West Africa.


In a statement released in Nairobi, Mr Annan said he had received a "detailed briefing... about the investigations which the UN initiated some time ago into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by both civilian and military peacekeeping personnel in the DRC".


He added: "I am afraid there is clear evidence that acts of gross misconduct have taken place. This is a shameful thing for the United Nations to have to say, and I am absolutely outraged by it.

"Many of these allegations came to light last spring, and have since been looked into both by Monuc (the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) itself and by the Office of Internal Oversight Services. I am glad to say that the allegations concern only a small number of UN personnel.

"But it is vital that the investigations be speeded up. We cannot rest until we have rooted out all such practices from Monuc, from any other peacekeeping operation, and indeed anywhere in the organisation that they might occur.

"And we must make sure that those involved are held fully accountable."

The UN mission in DRC now consists of about 10,000 troops and was first deployed in 2001, two years before a major war there ended.

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