Sexual Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers in DRC: Fatherless Children Speak for First Time About the Pain of Being Abandoned

The Conversation

My father left my mother while she was pregnant – she gave birth when he had already left. People call me “daughter of a bitch”. They disturb and hurt me so much. They say they will chase me because I am a foreigner. I am suffering.

These are the words of Emma* – a 13-year-old girl from Beni, a city in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) near its border with Uganda. Emma’s mother Grace* was still in school when she met and became involved with a Uruguayan soldier working in DRC as a United Nations peacekeeper. When Grace got pregnant, ‘Javier’ promised his support and told her not to worry. Grace was under the impression they would get married and start a family.