US embassy cable - 10ABIDJAN72

COTE D'IVOIRE: EFFECTIVENESS OF UNOCI EFFORTS TO COMBAT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE

Identifier: 10ABIDJAN72
Wikileaks: View 10ABIDJAN72 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abidjan
Created: 2010-01-15 17:45:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PHUM SOCI KWMN KPKO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO9842
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #0072 0151746
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151745Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0029
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0006
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0001
UNCLAS ABIDJAN 000072 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM, SOCI, KWMN, KPKO 
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: EFFECTIVENESS OF UNOCI EFFORTS TO COMBAT 
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE 
 
REF: 09 STATE 130760; 09 ABIDJAN 378; 08 ABIDJAN 440 
 
1.       (U)  Per ref A, post consulted with the UN Operation in 
Cote d'Ivoire's (UNOCI) Conduct and Discipline Office, the Ministry 
of Family, and Save the Children UK on whether UNOCI is effectively 
preventing sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and trafficking in 
persons (TIP). 
 
 
 
2.       (SBU)  Maria Rocheteau, acting UNOCI Conduct and 
Discipline Chief, told Poloff there were five SEA cases in 2009, 
down from 13 cases in 2008.  No cases in 2009 involved minors.  In 
addition to providing required SEA training to over 8,000 UNOCI 
civilians and peacekeepers, her office conducts around three field 
visits per month. The office tries to visit every peacekeeping 
battalion at least twice during their deployment.  However, due to 
severe staffing gaps, this is not always possible.  Staffing 
shortages have meant that the anti-SEA public awareness campaign 
planned for July 2009 (ref B) has not yet taken place.  There has 
been some progress on a victim assistance strategy, however - a 
working group made up of UN agencies, the Ivoirian government, and 
NGOs has started meeting regularly.  Rocheteau noted that more 
staff and resources could substantially increase her office's 
effectiveness. 
 
3.       (SBU)  Fanta Coulibaly, the Director of the National 
Committee Against Violence Against Women at the Ministry of Family, 
says UNOCI is "very involved" when cases of abuse are initially 
discovered, but is weak on follow-up support when babies are born 
from peacekeeper liaisons.  Regarding the 2007 SEA cases involving 
Moroccan peacekeepers, the Ministry of Family is still waiting to 
be notified of DNA paternity test results.  [Note: Rocheteau told 
Poloff on January 12 that final reports on these allegations have 
been completed, and the peacekeepers in question have already been 
tried in Moroccan courts.] Coulibaly suggested that deploying more 
female staff with peacekeeping contingents could have a deterrent 
effect on SEA. 
 
 
 
4.       (SBU)  Yann Grandin, a protection officer with Save the 
Children UK (SCUK), told Poloff on January 13 that the SEA problem 
among UNOCI personnel is more extensive than is recognized.  In 
December 2009, SCUK randomly polled 10 underage girls living in 
Toulepleu (western Cote d'Ivoire) in a neighborhood known as 
"Cotonou," since it is heavily frequented by Beninese peacekeepers. 
Eight of the 10 girls freely admitted they had ongoing sexual 
relationships with Beninese soldiers in exchange for food or 
lodging.  Follow-up interviews with parents and hospital staff in 
"Cotonou" revealed that girls go back to their villages and tell 
others about their "boyfriends," which encourages other parents to 
push their daughters to find someone who will provide for them. 
SCUK is currently examining the possibility of doing a study to 
determine the depth of the problem. 
NESBITT 

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