Let's stop sexual exploitation and abuse by staff and peacekeepers

Published on Friday, 1 July 2016

It has been reported that last year, 99 women, children and men were allegedly sexually exploited or abused by those working under the UN flag. Those who allegedly carried out these acts included military personnel, contractors and, shamefully, our own colleagues.

Faced with lives broken and intense media criticism , the leaders of our organizations and Member States have rightly condemned this.

A recent General Assembly resolution stated that "one substantiated case of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse is one case too many."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council he would name the countries of alleged perpetrators.

Nevertheless, many allegations continue to go uninvestigated. That is why the staff unions of the UN common system, grouped under the staff federations, decided to speak out and issue this statement as a wake-up call to colleagues, our organizations and Member States.

We call for:

  • a stop by all to sexual exploitation and abuse;
  • a single and fair investigation process for both staff and military personnel , so no-one can claim an opt-out;
  • better reporting mechanisms for victims and staff, and more effective protection forwhistleblowers;
  • zero tolerance not just for those who commit such acts but also for those in positions ofresponsibility who turn a blind eye or cover up;
  • a culture change at headquarters so that military forces with records of abuse are not contractedto peacekeeping missions; and
  • accountability for all, including through national judicial systems .

Each case of abuse and rape, whether committed by military personnel or our own colleagues, taints all staff and damages the trust we have worked so hard to build with the communities we serve.

It is in the interest of all, most importantly those we serve, that this behaviour, including all tacit tolerance, be stopped.

We look forward to your support.

©2021 UNOV Staff Union