Conflict & Justice

Uruguayan troops in Haiti accused of abuse

Uruguay has recalled five of its U.N. peacekeepers from Haiti, amid allegations of a sexual assault on a teenage boy.

Uruguay also announced the dismissal of its navy commander, who has not been named.

The measures come after a video clip was posted on the internet, which appeared to show the alleged abuse.

In the clip, several men in uniform laugh as they hold down a teenage boy on a bed at a U.N. base in southern Haiti.

The BBC reported that the Uruguayan military was taking "severe and exemplary measures" to deal with the allegations.

Eliane Nabaa, the U.N.'s spokeswoman in Haiti told the BBC that its military police had been ordered to investigate the incident:

The United Nations has a zero tolerance policy towards misbehavior, or sexual exploitation or abuse.

We have taken these allegations extremely seriously, and if the allegations are proved, the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Uruguay said it would apply the maximum penalty if the men were found guilty.

Last week, the Uruguayan defense ministry ordered an "urgent investigation" into allegations that its troops committed "aberrant acts", reported Al Jazeera.

(Read more on GlobalPost: Discrimination gets worse for Haiti's earthquake victims)

In a statement, Haitian President Michel Martelly "vigorously condemned'' the actions of those involved, and asked authorities to meet with U.N. officials.

The U.N. force in Haiti consists of more than 12,000 peacekeepers, 1,110 of whom are from Uruguay.

They were dispatched to help maintain order and security following last year's earthquake.