25 Dec :The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has tightened measures to ensure that its personnel do not indulge in sexual abuse following such allegations against the Indian peacekeepers.
Strengthening the United Nations "zero tolerance" policy on sexual misconduct, the mission, known as MONUC, has placed out of bounds areas for troops, imposed night curfews and prohibited them from going out in civilian clothes.
The Mission, however, said that investigations into allegations of sexual abuse by its peacekeepers in war torn North Kivu province are on and the number and nationalities of the troops involved is not yet clear.
The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which is investigating the allegations of misconduct said that information received so far is incomplete and unsubstantiated.
In August, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had said he was deeply troubled by revelations that several Indian peacekeepers previously assigned to a MONUC unit may have sexually abused civilians there.
The Indian Government had assured the UN that the allegations would be promptly and thoroughly investigated and, strict and exemplary action would be taken as per the law against those found responsible.
Under the rules, only the country to which a peacekeeper belongs can take action against him but the UN seeks removal of the personnel against whom the investigators find prime facie case and provide proof of the misconduct to the country to which he belongs.
MONUC, which was established in late 1999, is currently the largest UN peacekeeping missions in the world. On Monday, the Security Council extended the mandate of the 20,000-strong operation for another year until 31st December 2009.