‘The verdict marks an important first step towards justice.’
A landmark legal decision has been made in a Haitian court, ordering a former UN peacekeeper from Uruguay to pay child support to a woman he impregnated in 2011.
The court in the coastal town of Jacmel recently announced the decision after its judgement in late December, Sandra Wisner, a senior attorney for the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, told The New Humanitarian.
The group has been working with the Haitian-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) to represent several Haitian women who were impregnated and abandoned by UN peacekeepers. The BAI initiated claims on behalf of 10 Haitian women in 2017.
“The BAI child support cases against UN peacekeepers are among the first of their kind worldwide, and to our knowledge this was the first ruling like this in Haiti,” Wisner said.
“The verdict marks an important first step towards justice for our client and the many other women and children affected by exploitation and abuse,” the lawyer said, noting that the case may help other courts around the world push such claims forward.
The UN confirmed the paternity in this case in 2014, Wisner said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the man was still serving with the UN.
Hundreds of children are thought to have been fathered by UN peacekeepers during the UN’s stabilisation mission, known as MINUSTAH, according to a study that interviewed some 2,500 people in Haiti – the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
The mission, which began after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted from power in 2004, and was extended until 2017 due to waves of political instability and natural disasters, was mired in controversy. Continue reading