"I am the history of rape...
I am the history of battery assault and limitless
armies against whatever I want to do with my mind
and my body and my soul and
whether it's about walking out at night
or whether it's about the love that I feel or
whether it's about the sanctity of my vagina or
the sanctity of my national boundaries
or the sanctity of my leaders...I know from my heart...
I have been raped." Poem about My Rights by June Jordan
HLLN Letter to the UN asking for investigative reports, specific actions taken and punishment metered, reparations provided to Haitian victims of rape and sexual abuse by UN soldiers in Haiti
Hon. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General
The Honorable H.E. Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, President of the sixty-fourth session of the United Nations General Assembly
Bill Clinton, UN Special Envoy to Haiti
United Nations Headquarters
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017 and,
Hedi Annabi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
Hon. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, General Assembly President Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, Special MINUSTAH Representative Hedi Annabi, and Special Envoy Bill Clinton:
(cc:Suzan Rice, United States Ambassador to the United Nations; Michelle Montas, Spokesperson to the UN Secretary-General; Sophie Boutaud de la Combe, Porte-parole de la MINUSTAH and Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the media.)
In 2005, the Ezili Danto Witness Project reported on a Jordanian soldier's brutal rape and sodomizing a Haitian mother of five in Haiti. The report was sent to the UN, the victim complained to the UN. The investigation process never led to a resolution that was ever revealed to HLLN or the victim. (Read the English transcript.)
In 2007, it was discovered and reported that girls as young as 13 were having sex with U.N. peacekeepers for as little as $1 in Haiti. Moreover, Sri Lankan soldiers were accused of systematically raping Haitian women and girls, some as young as 7 years old.
Today, the UN said that dozens of UN peacekeepers were punished for sexual abuses. (UN peacekeepers involved in abuse are being punished, world body says, UN News Center, November 5, 2009, and Dozens of UN peace keepers punished for abuses, CBC News, November 5, 2009.)
Indeed, what this UN statement reveals to Ezili's HLLN is that if only a dozen UN peacekeepers were punished for sexual abuse and rape, than that means, for instance, most of the 114 Sri Lankan soldiers deported back to Sri Lanka from Haiti in 2007 for sexual abuse and rape in Haiti did not get punished. The Jordanian and other perpetrators we are aware of through Haitian complaints also have not been redressed or punished.
The more important revelation is the UN's continued secrecy on this matter as "no data on the nationalities or identities of the peacekeepers were revealed."
HLLN is again publicly and via cover of this note to UN authorities requesting the release of the findings of the investigation and report as to exactly what was happening in Martissant, Haiti and other locations at the brothels set up by the Sri Lankan and other UN soldiers in Haiti before they were deported in 2007.
Via-cover of this note, Ezili's HLLN again stresses that the UN should take a leaf out of Oprah's book and not run from the allegations of rape and abuse by their employees. When girls at Oprah's school in South Africa alleged sexual abuse, Oprah investigated, apologized to the students, their parents and the entire community that such depravity could have happened in her school, cleaned up the mess and set up new accountability standards and rigors so that such depraved assaults on children had a lesser chance of re-occurring.
The UN could at least do the same with all those international experts and PHDzzzs on its payroll. Investigate, apologize to the people of Haiti, fully and publicly report the result of the investigations, reveal the names of the culprits to the Haitian public, provide relief for the victims, set up new standards and accountability bars for the countries whose soldiers were involved in the rapes and sexual abuses in Haiti, not just release these diluted data where nothing is really revealed.
The UN's "zero tolerance" is lip service until it is backed up by actions that realistically assures Haitians they are truly concerned about these depraved assaults on minors and women by their UN soldiers, are providing counseling and assistance to the victims, have cleaned up all backlog of complaints and have stopped making the victims who come forward with allegations, for instance, of gang rape by three or four soldiers at a time, feel responsible, terming the acts "consensual" if money was exchanged and/or further making the victims feel responsible for the abuse and exploitation of power with appallingly racist statements to the effect that - "Haitians are natural prostitutes, used to trading sex for food, shelter and education." What such moral actions, new standards and accounting procedures would signal to Haitians is that indeed this indecency is clearly marked very seriously as a zero tolerance zone by UN superiors.
The newly release UN data on abuse falls short of such responsibility and is reprehensible. The investigation into the 114 Sri Lankan soldiers accused of sexually abusing minors and running a brothel in Haiti must be made public to the Haitian people and the victims offered assistance, especially the minors whose childhood innocence cannot be returned.
Humanitarian aid workers and UN peacekeepers accused of sexually abusing and sexual trafficking children in Haiti should have their names and their country's identities exposed so that this matter may be cleaned up once and for all.
HLLN looks forward to a response to this letter from the UN authorities and a copy of their investigation to share with our Network and the media.
To end, we attach a Final Call article on this same HLLN concern for justice, transparency and accountability from the UN, written more than a year ago: UN peacekeepers and aid workers accused of abusing children, Final Call, June 24, 2008