Two Pakistani police officers working as U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti have been suspended and may face repatriation after a U.N. probe found they had sex with a prostitute in a banana field, U.N. officials said Thursday.
The men will be repatriated if a board of inquiry confirms the findings of a U.N. and Haitian police investigation, said Damian Onses-Cardona, spokesman for the 7,400-member force.
The board is expected to make a decision in two weeks, said Onses-Cardona.
“If board confirms the findings, the men will be repatriated and then it will be up to their country of origin to decide what to do with them,” Onses-Cardona said. It wasn’t clear whether they would be prohibited from participating in future peacekeeping missions.
U.N. regulations forbid solicitation. Haitian law permits prostitution as long as all parties are over 18, said Jean-Claude Jean, head of the Haitian police judicial division.
The investigation stemmed from allegations that three Pakistani police officers had raped a 23-year-old woman in the central city of Gonaives.
Locals told U.N. peacekeepers they had seen two men engaging in sexual acts with the woman in a banana field on Feb. 18, said Jean Lafaille, commander of the U.N. police unit in Gonaives. A third Pakistani was present but didn’t engage in sexual act, said Lafaille.
When interviewed by police and U.N. inspectors, the woman acknowledged she had been paid for the sex, Lafaille said. Attempts to reach the woman were unsuccessful.
The suspensions come as the United Nations investigates sexual abuse allegations in a handful of countries around the world. The most notable case is Congo, where 150 allegations of sexual abuse include rape, pedophilia, and solicitation.
U.N. peacekeepers replaced a U.S.-led force in June in Haiti, four months after demobilized soldiers led a rebellion that sent President Jean-Bertrand Aristide into exile Feb. 29.
Some 250 Pakistani police officers are stationed in Gonaives and Port-au-Prince, where they patrol the streets and assist the 4,000-member Haitian police.
Two Pakistani peacekeepers in Haiti were investigated in 1996 in connection with rape allegations and running a prostitution ring in Haiti’s central plateau. U.N. officials in Haiti were not able to say whether the men were ever charged or disciplined.
The United Nations was in charge of peacekeeping operations in Haiti for several years after Aristide was ousted in 1991 during a coup and later restored to power in 1994.
The United Nations has 64,000 troops serving in 16 peacekeeping missions around the world.