|Subject: Expresso: Scandal in Timor
Portuguese Press Coverage of East Timor Compiled by UNIC Lisbon, 5 May 2003
The weekly Expresso carries an article headlined "Scandal in Timor." A third investigation by the UN in Timor-Leste has found that UN peacekeepers "sexually abused children", says Expresso (circ: 161,000).
According to the weekly, most of the children were "imported from Thailand."
These offenders have gone unpunished and the UN does not have the means to do anything about it, this fact brings to light an old problem that "isolates the UN": the behaviour of its peacekeepers and their interference in the societies that they are supposed to protect.
The weekly reports on sexual "crimes" by UN peacekeepers that took place nearly two years ago.
According to investigations carried out by the UN and by a Jordan military attorney the alleged criminals were allowed to leave the country and none of them have as yet been tried.
The weekly also reports on a more recent case where children from Thailand were taken to East Timor with false visas and "forced to have sex with UN staff" working in Dili.
These are examples of the extremely serious cases of the "behaviour of UN staff on missions" all over the world along the years, says Expresso. Chris de Bono, who is the spokesman for the UN Department of Peacekeeping operations is quoted by the weekly as saying "we are continuing to discuss the situation with the Jordan Government."
UN sources, says the weekly, are trying to repatriate the women from Thailand who were forced into prostitution, but an unidentified source in Timor-Leste has already said that with this action the UN is trying to cover up and downplay the significance of the referred acts.
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