The United Nations is pressing ahead with a crackdown on sexual misconduct by peacekeepers in Liberia after finding that some allegations leveled so far were true, a UN spokesman said today.
"Preliminary investigations under way by the mission have indicated that some of the allegations have been substantiated while others have not," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
"The Peacekeeping Department here in New York as well as the mission on the ground (in Liberia) are taking appropriate follow-up action," he said.
The confirmation of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the West African nation was the latest in a wave of bad news for the world body including similar allegations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere.
In Congo, peacekeepers and civilian staff have been accused of rape, pedophilia, and enticing hungry children with food or money in exchange for sex.
"The United Nations treats this issue with the utmost seriousness. As we continue to clamp down on misconduct throughout all peacekeeping missions, it is very likely that the number of these allegations will increase," Dujarric said.
A report earlier this year by Jordan's UN ambassador, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, recommended an overhaul of the world body's 17 peacekeeping operations of some 64,000 personnel.
The UN mission in Liberia has been in place since September 2003 and currently has nearly 15,000 troops as well as 1,000 international police officers and more than 1,000 international and local civilian employees.