UN Peacekeepers Accused of More Sexual Abuse

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

KINSHASA, DR Congo– Another United Nations Peacekeeper is accused of sexual abuse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The year has been filled with allegations of sexual misconduct against United Nations Peacekeepers in the DR Congo.  In this instance, a United Nations Peacekeeper was placed on leave after accusations that he had sex with a minor.

UN peacekeepers in Congo drive in armoured vehicle.

UN Peacekeepers in the DR Congo. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

This United Nations Peacekeeper is Romanian.  Out of the five cases that have come to light this year this recent case is the first involving a minor.  Two of the other cases against peacekeepers involve South African soldiers and paternal recognition.  In those cases one baby has been more and the other is expected soon.

The accusations that the United Nations Peacekeepers are facing in the DR Congo are not new to the United Nations Peacekeeping program.  Past allegations against peacekeepers have been made around the globe.  Nearby in the Central African Republic both United Nations Peacekeepers and French troops allegedly raped children.  The legal responsibility of the United Nations and the Peacekeepers in cases of sexual abuse is still hotly contested and unclear.  The victim of this most recent allegation has been put into the care of UNICEF.

For more information, please see:

BBC Africa – DR Congo: UN peacekeepers face fresh sexual abuse claims – 28 April 2017

Inner City Press – On New UN Sex Abuse in DRC, While MONUSCO Lists 5 Accused, UNHQ Won’t Answer – 28 April 2017

International Business Times – DRC: Five UN peacekeepers suspended over fresh sexual abuse claims – 28 April 2017

PBS Newshour – UN peacekeepers accused of thousands of cases of abuse, AP finds – 12 April 2017

 

Conservationist Kuki Gallmann Shot at Her Kenyan Conservatory

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

NAIROBI, Kenya– Kuki Gallmann, renowned author and conservationist has been shot at her conservatory in Kenya.  Gallmann is 73 years old and owns the Laikipia Nature Conservatory.  There is currently conflict between landowners, like Gallmann, and cattle herders in the Laikipia area.  Gallmann owned a luxury safari lodge which was burned to the ground last month.  It is suspected that the cattle herders may have been behind the arson.

Kuki Gallmann

Author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

Currently it is unclear exactly who shot Gallmann, but those that were with her at the time claim it was a group of armed men without cattle.  Gallmann is not the only one who has been shot.  A British rancher, Tristan Voorspuy, was shot dead while inspecting his ranch in the same area.  Gallmann has also been shot before in 2009.

Gallmann and others fear that Northern Kenyan is become a land of lawlessness.  There are many who have nothing to lose and simply run around the country doing whatever they can to support themselves.  Sometimes that means targeting individuals like Gallmann.

The widespread drought that is happening in East Africa is only complicating matters.  Gallmann’s daughter said that she and her mother often will let herders graze on their land.  However, recently due to the drought, there have been many more herders than usual.  Some cattle, Gallmann’s daughter believes, actually belongs to wealthy owners rather than locals just seeking a place for their cattle graze.  This has cause conflict between Gallmann and some of the herders.

Gallmann is currently recovering in ICU at a Nairobi hospital after a seven hour surgery to do repairs on her abdomen.  She is expected to make a full recovery.

For further information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Kuki Gallmann shot and wounded at Kenya conservation park – 23 April 2017

CBS News – Kuki Gallmann, “I Dreamed of Africa” author, shot at Kenyan ranch, officials say – 23 April 2017

Huffington Post – Activist Kuki Gallmann Shot At Her Kenyan Ranch – 23 April 2017

The New York Times – ‘I Dreamed of Africa’ Author and Conservationist is Shot in Kenya – 23 April 2017

53 Charged After Celebrating Gay Wedding in Nigeria

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

LAGOS, Nigeria– 53 men have been arrested in the Nigerian state of Kaduna after celebrating a gay wedding.  The group was charged with conspiracy, unlawful association, and unlawful society.  Currently homosexual acts are illegal in Nigeria.  If caught for performing homosexual acts one can face up to 14 years in prison.

KENYA-NIGERIA-HOMOSEXUALITY-RIGHTS-DEMO

Kenyan gay and lesbian organizations demonstrate outside the Nigerian High Commission in Nairobi on February 7, 2014. (Photo Courtesy of NBC News)

Upon being charged the group plead not guilty to the charges of conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and unlawful society.  The groups defense lawyer, Yunusa Umar, claims that the group was illegally detained for 24 hours.  He also said that most of the group is students.  Gay rights group claim that the group was celebrating a birthday rather than a wedding.  Maria Sjodin, deputy executive director of LGBTQ advocacy group OutRight Action International, said she believes the gay wedding story is just an “excuse” and part of the police’s attempt to “crackdown on an emerging LGBTQ movement” in Nigeria.

Homosexual acts were made illegal in Nigeria in 2014.  The creation of this law came from the two conservative parts of the country: evangelical Christianity in the South and Islam in the North.  Human Rights Watch and other rights group claim that the law was also created to legitimize abuse in the LGBT community.  “Extortion, mob violence, arbitrary arrest, torture in detention, and physical and sexual violence” are common against people suspected of homosexual activities, Human Rights Watch said in a 2016 report.  The country also bans gay marriage.

Currently the group is out of jail on bail pending a hearing on May 8th.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Nigeria ‘gay wedding’ bust leads to charges – 20 April 2017

Deutsche Welle – Nigeria arrests 53 over Gay Wedding – 20 April 2017

The Journal – Nigeria charges 53 men with conspiracy to organise a gay wedding – 20 April 2017

NBC News – 53 Arrested in Nigeria for Celebrating Gay Wedding, Police Say – 20 April 2017