Monday 12 September 2011 20.59 BST
The UN has a zero tolerance policy toward sexual exploitation and abuse, and as a result does not tolerate any misbehaviour by its personnel. Based on this policy, both Minustah (Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Haiti) and the UN department of field support in New York took immediate remedial action on being informed of allegations of sexual assault perpetrated by five of its military personnel on a Haitian national. The UN is also collaborating with the government of Uruguay to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted and that due legal procedure is followed.
The Uruguayan ministry of defence acted swiftly to relieve the head of Uruguay’s naval contingent in Haiti of his post, to recall the alleged five perpetrators, to open an investigation into the allegations and to take “severe and exemplary measures”, should the accused be found guilty.
While the video mentioned in your article (Is this Minustah’s ‘Abu Ghraib moment’ in Haiti?, 3 September) is profoundly disturbing and inexcusable, the incident is not comparable to the events in Abu Ghraib. The acts of a few should not overshadow the contribution made by the thousands of civilian, police and military personnel who have served Minustah and Haiti commendably since 2004.
Special representative of the UN secretary-general for Haiti