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U.N. under Fire over Sexual Abuse by Peacekeepers; Tony Blair Weighs In on Brexit; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 29, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: the most vulnerable betrayed by those sent to save them. We explore the Central African

Republic sex abuse scandal that is rocking the United Nations.


PARFAIT ONANGA-ANYANGA, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO THE CAR: Our commitment is clear. The days of silence are over. Those who have been

working, using the U.N. as a place to hide and commit those crimes are outed.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Plus, as the dust settles on President Obama's whistle-stop tour of Europe, the former British prime minister Tony Blair

weighs in on Brexit, the refugee crisis and Syria.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to our weekend edition of this program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Peacekeepers were sent to the Central African Republic in 2013 to protect the most vulnerable, when religious violence plunged that country into

turmoil. Instead, they've been accused of horrific sexual abuse.

The United Nations recently announced that 100 new allegations of sexual violence by those peacekeepers and it finds itself now under harsh scrutiny

for its response to these and dozens of other similar allegations in missions, mostly around Africa.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): The charges leveled at peacekeepers sent to the Central African Republic are shocking.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Jalliane Palleller (ph) started taking these terrible testimonies two years ago. Several boys said that French soldiers

assigned by the U.N. repeatedly abused them in exchange for a little cash, some food.

Equally shocking, though, Palleller's (ph) findings were ignored, according to an independent report commissioned by the U.N. France now says that it

is investigating and President Hollande vows that his troops will be punished if they're found guilty.

But it wasn't until nearly a year after the investigation started that a series of leaks made all of this public, first, by a senior U.N. human

rights official, Anders Compass (ph) and later when the allegations were printed in "The Guardian" newspaper. Now the secretary-general would speak


BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I cannot put into words how anguished and angered and ashamed I am by recurrent reports over the years of sexual

exploitation and abuse by U.N. forces. Enough --


KI-MOON: -- is enough.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): He called this abuse "a cancer in our system" and promptly fired the head of the peacekeeping mission in the Central African

Republic and urged victims to come forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There seemed to be the sense that they had their heads in the sand as these accusations rolled out. We've seen the U.N. in some

ways become almost a victim of its own transparency because they've come publicly out with these cases, which has increased attention on them.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Earlier this year, just before himself resigning, the U.N.'s assistant secretary-general for field support, Anthony Banbury

(ph), held a tearful press conference.

ANTHONY BANBURY (PH), FORMER U.N. ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL: It's hard to imagine the outrage that people working for the United Nations and for

the causes of peace and security feel when these kinds of allegations come to light.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): As investigations continue, Ban Ki-moon's name and shame policy has revealed the extent of the alleged abuse in the CAR

alone, with peacekeepers from more than 10 countries accused of more than 150 incidents of rape and other sexual abuse.

And the problem extends to missions far beyond the CAR, the U.N. says. Last month for the first time, the U.N. passed a resolution to try to end

all of this. It's part of a series of measures to punish and prevent sexual abuse by U.N. staff.


AMANPOUR: So how can, how will the U.N. put an end to this to restore order in their ranks and compensate the victims?

I asked Parfait Onanga-Anyanga. He's the U.N. special representative to the CAR. And he joined me from the capital, Bangui.


AMANPOUR: Special Representative, welcome to the program.

ONANGA-ANYANGA: Thank you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Can I just start by putting the most obscene of these allegations to you and ask you to react to the horror?

What did you think when you saw reported an accusation that a French peacekeeper had girls tied up and forced to have sex with dogs?

ONANGA-ANYANGA: Well, Christiane, this is despicable. I am appalled, regardless of who is responsible for these kind of horrors and I'm mostly

appalled that U.N. peacekeepers involved in this absolutely, awful act.

AMANPOUR: And we also know, Mr. Onanga, that these have been, in the words of one independent U.N. report, commissioned by the secretary-general, that

all of this information has been, quote, "passed from desk to desk, inbox to inbox, across multiple U.N. offices, with no one willing to take

responsibility to address the serious human rights violations."

Do you accept that categorization?

ONANGA-ANYANGA: Ever since I've arrived in this mission, it's been clear that, from the top leadership to the bottom, everybody has now a commitment

to report and we are a mechanism to report not only internally, but also with all U.N. agencies so that we make it one U.N. commitment to deal with

cases, allegations, of SCA, which is absolutely unacceptable.

Because the U.N. has been in this country and we have prevented the genocide in this country and we will not allow just a minority, a few ugly

guys, to just tarnish the work that we've been doing. So.

AMANPOUR: I see your passion.


AMANPOUR: -- Mr. Onanga. I see your passion. You say "a few ugly guys," but I'm afraid this is widespread and many people fear that, in some

missions, it's almost institutional. One hundred fifty cases, at least, in the CAR and we have graphics that show this goes way beyond the CAR.

It's in many different countries and it involves scores and scores of peacekeepers.

Many of these wrongdoers, criminals, cannot even be judged or prosecuted in the countries where they are deployed.

What is going to be done to change that situation?

ONANGA-ANYANGA: The point is, we, as a U.N., we don't have peacekeepers of our own. We rely on member states to provide us with peacekeepers.

And it is in the collaboration and the cooperation that we establish. We are hoping that they will be giving us their best.

And, so far, I want to be fair to them. Peacekeeping works, but then we have to deal with those in our way, (INAUDIBLE), what understood how

important our mission was for the people of the world.

AMANPOUR: Will you set up special courts-martial?

Will you do what NATO does?

What will you do?

ONANGA-ANYANGA: Well, this seems to be (INAUDIBLE). Countries know now and what we're judging --


ONANGA-ANYANGA: -- is that we are -- I mean, we have been calling for establishing (INAUDIBLE) to martial courts. This is already in the books.

We are working with member states and hopefully we'll get there.

AMANPOUR: Anders Kompass, who you know very well -- at least you know of him -- is number three in the U.N. Human Rights Office, that commission


And he was one of the first to go to a member government and say, "Your soldiers are committing these crimes."

He was reprimanded for failing protocol and then he was exonerated by the U.N.. And this is what he told the newspaper after he was exonerated in


He said, "It is still a mystery why most of the U.N. leadership decided to do this to me when they knew very well how badly the U.N. was handling

these types of cases and they knew there was a big gap in terms of under- reporting of these kinds of cases."

So, doesn't he have a point?

ONANGA-ANYANGA: I'm pleased to know that this courageous colleague is back in our midst and made it clear that whistleblowers will be protected.

I have called on called member states, on my own staff, that whenever they see something, they should report it. And we have made the same outreach

to the population, to the civilian population.

We have been inviting them to do exactly this: to come to us whenever they will be seeing something because we have nothing to hide. It's clear that

our fight is the same side.

AMANPOUR: You know, listening to all of this, I'm sure most normal people would ask why.

Why is this culture ingrained?

Why do soldiers, who have sworn to uphold an oath of protection, what is it that causes them to commit these crimes?


ONANGA-ANYANGA: Yes, yes, it's deplorable. I have no good answer, Christiane. It's simply deplorable. It shows that, as we aim for very

principled work and to accomplish good for the world, this world is full of really irresponsible people and people who are still prone to take

advantage of any situation for their own benefit.

AMANPOUR: The U.N. panel says that civilian staff have accounted for half of the sexual abuse cases in some U.N. missions.

That's a problem too, right?

ONANGA-ANYANGA: You're right. Civilian staff, as exposed and as they are a concern to us and the policies that we're putting in place would apply to

both civilian and military personnel.

AMANPOUR: One of the other punitive or preventative measures that the U.N. is thinking about, tell me whether you're going to implement it: taking

DNA samples from all peacekeeping troops before they get onsite to be able to match that with allegations of rape or, God forbid, paternity?


ONANGA-ANYANGA: Absolutely, absolutely. This is -- this is -- I mean, look, Christiane, this very proposal has been on the table for the

past 20 years. So I think the time has come. And, therefore, we'll be doing everything possible to ensure that no one, no perpetrator, no one

going with a criminal -- no criminal hurting underage kids could hide in the U.N. behind this blue flag.

AMANPOUR: Well, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, thank you very much indeed for joining me.

ONANGA-ANYANGA: Thank you for giving us a voice and thank you for giving a voice to the victims.


AMANPOUR: As the U.N. investigates these abuses in the Central African Republic, the International Criminal Court this week announced its

investigation into deadly violence further south in Burundi.

Hundreds have been killed in the tiny African nation and thousands have fled for their lives since the country descended into political chaos a

year ago.

And coming up after the break, after President Obama's forceful intervention in the Brexit debate this week, I asked Tony Blair why he

thinks Britain is better off In.





AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

U.S. President Barack Obama completed a whistle-stop tour of Europe this week with some dramatic interventions along the way.

In Germany, he bolstered the embattled chancellor, Angela Merkel, who's under fire for her open refugee policy. He said she is on the right side

of history.

And in the U.K., Obama made a potentially decisive intervention in the Brexit debate, saying that Britain could get to the back of the U.S.

trading queue if it leaves Europe.

All four living British prime ministers, including the current one, of course, want Britain to remain in the European Union, as Tony Blair told me

this week.


AMANPOUR: Prime Minister, welcome back to the program.


AMANPOUR: President Obama came and made a fairly strong intervention to remain in Europe for the U.K.

How do you think he did and did he have any right to do it?

BLAIR: I think he did very well and, of course, he has a right to do it. I mean, he's the President of the United States; it's the most powerful

country in the world. It's Britain's biggest single ally as a country.

It's right at least that we in Britain know what he thinks about it. And it would be odd if he didn't think something about it since it's such a

huge decision for Britain.

AMANPOUR: One of the things about the whole idea of getting out of Europe, Brexit, is that there's so much uncertainty. The Leave campaign is saying,

we could negotiate all the deals we have now with individual nations.

But the president put paid to that argument. He basically said Britain would have to stand at the back of the queue, he said, using a Britishism.

He also said this.


OBAMA: The U.K. would not be able to negotiate something with the United States faster than the E.U. We wouldn't abandon our efforts to negotiate a

trade deal with our largest trading partner, the European market; but, rather, it could be five years from now, 10 years from now, before we were

able to actually get something done.


AMANPOUR: How important is what the president said on trade?

BLAIR: It's important and people will pay attention to it, because they should. And it's not as if the president is telling us what we have to do.

He's merely expressing his view about the consequences.

And it's important we know that view. And what he says, by the way, is obvious when you think about it. Look, America's got the Trans-Pacific

Trade and Investment Partnership. It's got the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. These are two huge negotiations for them.

If Britain opts out of Europe, of course, it's going to take time to get to a specifically British deal. And one of the things that's extraordinary

about the Leave campaign is that they cry foul when you point out what are obvious facts.

If Britain withdraws from Europe, it's going to have to renegotiate its terms of entry into the single market.

AMANPOUR: The number of people coming into Britain, is that going to be affected whether Britain stays in or stays out of Europe?

And do you feel a little bit sort of, I don't know, responsible or a player in this since migration did step up quite significantly under your term in


BLAIR: If you're part of the European Union, it's the free movement of people, which is, by the way, not a bad thing. I mean, overall, it does

enormous good for our economies and there are over 1 million British people that are in different parts of Europe right now.

And, yes, because the British economy was very strong when we were there, you've got people coming from Eastern Europe. I personally don't share the

general view this was a bad idea. I think these people have contributed a lot to our country. I think the evidence is that what they've paid in

taxes is far more than anything they've received in benefits.

But if you leave the European Union but want access to the single market, then you'll be in the same position as Norway and Switzerland. They've got

the free movement of people. They've actually got a higher proportion of immigrants than we have.

AMANPOUR: So you think Britain will vote to stay in, when push comes to shove?

BLAIR: I think we will. But it's a referendum and, as we know from here, from America, from everywhere in Europe --


BLAIR: -- politics is a highly unpredictable business today.

AMANPOUR: What was your thought when you read the now-famous Goldberg article in "The Atlantic," where President Obama said a lot of things about

his foreign policy. But also that free riders aggravate me.

And he pretty much said that David Cameron had been a free rider and that the United Kingdom could not expect to maintain its special relationship if

it didn't pay its full whack when it comes to defense spending and NATO.

BLAIR: Well, I think it's important that we realize that this is not just an Obama view. I think it is a reasonably mainstream American view. Take

out some of the more careful language, it's really saying, look, if you want American power to be exerted in the world -- and I certainly do

because I think it is essentially benign, whatever its issues and problems -- then the Europeans are going to have to pay our way and to play our


But I actually think there are very powerful reasons, particularly with this extremism and jihadism in the world. There are very powerful reasons

of self-interest for Europe -- and I include Britain in that -- to be stepping up to the plate in military terms.

I mean, the situation in Libya affects us dramatically, radically, and it's on our doorstep. It's not on America's doorstep. And yet we're very

dependent on America for the action that we need to take against ISIS there.

Same with Syria and the fact that the whole of the Middle East.

AMANPOUR: The U.S. has just announced another 250 Special Forces to Syria.

What kind of difference do you think that will make?

BLAIR: It will make a big difference. Every single increase in American capability that's been applied in Syria, in Iraq, across the region over

these past months, every single step forward has been a step forward in the campaign to defeat these people.

Because look, the Americans; the British, particularly, but also others like the French, they now have long experience in Afghanistan, in Iraq,

elsewhere, of fighting these people.

And this is like any other professional job in one sense: the more capability you have, the more experienced you are, the better trained you

are, the better equipped you are, the more effective you are.

AMANPOUR: Tony Blair, thanks very much for being back on the program.

BLAIR: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And we return to Libya later in the program, we have the latest evidence of the tragic lengths that refugees will go to to escape war and

poverty, where even prisons can be safer than the streets.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not guaranteed for you outside, believe me. Now Tripoli, looks like -- I don't want to say it, but I have to say it, it

looks like a jungle. There is no security situation outside. We don't want any person to catch you and use you as a slave.





AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, while Syria and Libya take center stage at high-level meetings, imagine the tens of thousands of ordinary people

trying to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean by boat.

The UNHCR says three times more migrants crossed from Libya to Italy last month than in the same period last year. About 500 of them drowned just

last week when their unseaworthy vessel capsized halfway between Italy and Libya.

The photojournalist, Kurt Pelger (ph), has been patrolling those beaches with his camera. And what he captures is disturbing.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): On a weekend, families --


AMANPOUR (voice-over): can make a get-away to this beach at Garabulli, east of Tripoli. But this coastline is also host to a more grisly tide,

the bodies of migrants washing up on shore.

Garabulli is one of Libya's main people-smuggling ports. Desperate men and women who'd handed over hundreds of dollars to cross the Mediterranean in

small, overcrowded boats.

So many end up back here, volunteers with Libya's Red Crescent, often recovering the bodies of those who didn't make it, digging them out of the


Twenty-five thousand migrants have reached Italy this year, according to the International Organization for Migration. But others are being caught

by the Libyan forces and now await deportation, in detention centers like this one.

Most of them are African.

Some are very young.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from Gambia. I'm 16.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm 14. I want to look for money for my family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): I'm 12.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Twelve?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Yes. My father doesn't know where I am. Nobody knows where I am. My family doesn't know.

He arrested us and we asked him, "Why did you arrest us here?"

He didn't say anything.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Authorities tell the teenagers that it's better for them to be locked up in this Tripoli prison than out on the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not guaranteed for you outside, believe me. Now Tripoli looks like, I don't want to say it but I have to say it. It looks

like a jungle. There is no security situation outside.

We don't want any person to catch you and use you as a slave. This is not from your humanity, this is not from our religion. We are scared of you --

scared of something happen to you.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): But many are kept in what the U.N. calls deplorable conditions, spending months in these jails, facing torture and ill

treatment, as this guard even demonstrated.

Despite the risks on land and at sea, people continue to make this desperate journey, in pursuit of what they hoped would be a better life.


AMANPOUR: And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can listen to our podcast, you can see us online at and you can follow me

on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.