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Responding to new allegations of rape by United Nations peacekeepers, an activist group renewed its call to evict the world body from the U.S.
Move America Forward, co-chaired by California campaigner Howard Kaloogian, has collected nearly 100,000 signatures on its petition to “Get the U.N. Out of the U.S.” and stop American funding of the organization.
“It has become an almost daily occurrence to read about allegations of rape and molestation by U.N. officials,” said Kaloogian. “The reputation of the U.N. is so badly tarnished that it cannot be trusted to investigate itself.”
The U.N. acknowledges it is probing allegations that three peacekeepers were involved in the rape of a Haitian woman.
The U.N. workers, policemen from Pakistan, contend they were engaged in consensual sex with a prostitute, but the 23-year old woman told Haitian radio stations the men “grabbed and pulled my pants, had me lie on the ground and then raped me.”
The investigation comes after the U.N. reported 50 U.N. peacekeepers and civilian officers in Congo have been accused of rape and molestation of Congolese girls, and a U.N. senior official from France has been charged with running an Internet pedophile ring.
According to an ABC News report, the U.N. personnel have fathered hundreds of babies born to Congolese women.
Human-rights groups charge U.N. officials have tolerated the abuse for many years.
Sex crimes by U.N. peacekeepers also have been reported in Kosovo, East Timor and Cambodia.
This week, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, resigned following allegations of sexual harassment.
Kaloogian asked, “How can we in good conscience continue to serve as host and largest financial backer of an organization that is clearly overrun with corruption and wrongdoing at every level from the peacekeeper to quite possibly the Secretariat’s office?”
Move America Forward said it will present its petitions later this year to congressional leaders, the Bush administration and U.N. leadership.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with requests for ‘Get the U.N. Out of the U.S.’ petitions from Americans who are growing disgusted by the UN’s conduct,” said Siobhan Guiney, Move America Forward’s executive director.
Guiney criticized U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anna for an opinion piece published this week claimed the problems facing the U.N. were limited to “ethical lapses and lax management.”
Said Guiney: “Tell that to the women and children who are being sexually abused by U.N. officials around the globe.”
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