UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The boys said they approached the French soldiers because they were hungry. Some were so young that they didn’t quite understand the acts the soldiers demanded in return. One boy, 8 or 9 years old, said he did it several times to the same soldier, “until one day an older kid saw him and told him what he was doing was bad.”
One year later, revelations about how the U.N. handled the boys’ accounts have horrified people both inside and outside the world body. Statements marked “strictly confidential” have shown that its top human rights officials failed to follow up for several months on the allegations their own office had collected.
No arrests have been announced, and it’s not clear where the accused soldiers, who were supporting a U.N. peacekeeping force, are now. The U.N. seems unable to say when the abuses stopped, or how long it continued to investigate.
On Friday, more documents were released by a non-governmental organization run by two former U.N. staffers that’s calling for an independent investigation into the case. The documents show U.N. officials scrambling not so much to help a French inquiry into the allegations but to investigate the human rights staffer who told French authorities in the first place.