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Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire: Effectiveness of Unoci Efforts to Combat

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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