10 Haitian women filed lawsuit against UN and peacekeepers for child support

Posted by Reuters on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Under: Justice
Image result for haitian children with fathered by UN

Lawyers representing 10 Haitian women who claimed to have had children with United Nations peacekeepers filed the first legal actions in Haiti against the UN and individual peace officers for child support and paternity claim.

The lawsuits filed by the Haiti-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) human rights group are part of a legal battle by Haitian women to force peacekeepers, who according to them are parents of their children, to contribute the growth of children.

"Having and then abandoning children is not within the official capabilities of a UN peacekeeper and therefore we argue that this gives the Haitian court jurisdiction to settle claims of paternity and child support," said Nicole Phillips on Tuesday , a lawyer for the US-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which is working on the case.

Ten mothers of 11 children who said they had been abandoned by UN soldiers are seeking financial support from them. One of the mothers was 17 when she gave birth, which amounts to rape in accordance with Haitian law, the IJDH said.Related image

Under the UN's "zero tolerance policy", sexual relations between peacekeepers and UN country residents are heavily discouraged.

Farhan Haq, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that responsibility for child support rests with those individuals who "raise the children."

"... the United Nations alone can not legally establish paternity or child support rights ... compensation is a matter of personal responsibility to be determined under national legal processes," Haq said by email.

Missing: Sasha holds up a picture of the father she has never seen - one of many U.N. peacekeepers who had relationships with Haitian women before they returned to their home countries, never to be seen again

The UN mission, 13, left Haiti in October after being sent to stabilize a country affected by political strife.

In : Justice 

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