Press Releases

    SG/SM/8140
    AFR/384
    28 February 2002

    SECRETARY-GENERAL DIRECTS "THOROUGH INVESTIGATION"
    OF ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE OF CHILDREN
    IN WEST AFRICAN REFUGEE CAMPS

    NEW YORK, 27 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Office of the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General is clearly shocked and disturbed at the news of the possible extensive abuse of children in refugee camps in West Africa.

    The Secretary-General has directed that these allegations be investigated as thoroughly and urgently as possible, and remedial action aimed at strengthening the protection of women and children be taken as necessary.

    There is currently an investigative team in the region to clarify these matters.

    The Secretary-General reiterates the policy of zero tolerance for any such acts perpetrated by any one employed by or affiliated with the United Nations.

    He intends to act forcefully should any of these allegations be confirmed and undertakes to do so in a transparent and expeditious manner.

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