Two Pakistani UN soldiers jailed for raping Haitian boy

UN soldiers patrol in Port-au-Prince August 11, 2011. UN peacekeepers in Haiti have faced growing criticism

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Two United Nations peacekeepers from Pakistan have been sentenced to a year in prison and sacked from the army for raping a 14-year-old boy in Haiti.

The soldiers were found guilty by a Pakistani military tribunal in Haiti and will serve their terms back home.

The attack in Gonaives in January was not the first time UN peacekeepers have been accused of assault.

Last year, five Uruguayan soldiers were accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy at a UN base.

In that case a video which purported to show the attack was posted on the internet, leading to protests in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and calls for the UN to leave the country.

There have also been demands that UN soldiers should be stripped of their immunity and be tried by Haitian courts.

Monday's ruling was the first time that UN personnel have been tried and sentenced while still in the country.

Haitian Justice Minister Michel Brunache said the verdict was a small step in the right direction but that "we expected more from the UN and the Pakistani government".

The UN peacekeeping mission has been deployed in Haiti since 2004.

Its reputation was particularly damaged by a cholera epidemic in 2010, which is thought to have been caused by sewage from a camp housing peacekeepers from Nepal.

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