Episode
May 11, 2015

The UN’s ‘culture of silence’?

The UN has been accused of neglect when it comes to allegations of sexual abuse in peacekeeping missions.
3 Comments

Is there a ‘culture of silence’ inside the United Nations when it comes to handling allegations of abuse in its peacekeeping missions? Last summer, a senior UN employee, Anders Kompass, gave an internal report to French authorities about alleged sexual exploitation of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic (CAR). The report contained interviews with a number of children aged 8-15, who say they were sexually abused at a camp for internally displaced people in Bangui, the capital of the CAR. The UN characterized Kompass’ actions as a “leak”. He was suspended and put under investigation by the UN Office for Internal Oversight Service (OIOS) before an appeal tribunal ordered the UN to lift his suspension.

While the UN says its mission in the CAR was set up after the alleged crimes occurred, the organisation is being accused of neglecting its responsibility to reveal the abuses. A few days before the allegations were made against the French soldiers, a leaked internal UN report, which was presented in November 2013, painted a grim picture of how the UN deals with such cases. One of the report’s findings is that in 2012, UN missions in Haiti, Liberia, Congo and South Sudan accounted for 85 per cent of all reported sexual abuse cases involving UN-mandated soldiers.

In this episode, we look at how the UN handles allegations of sexual abuse in its peacekeeping missions. Join our conversation at 19:30GMT.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Farhan Haq @UN_Spokesperson                                                     
Deputy spokesperson for the UN Secretary General
un.org/sg

James Wasserstrom
Whistleblower while working with UN mission in Kosovo

Mukesh Kapila @mukeshkapila                                            
Former UN coordinator for Sudan
mukeshkapila.org

Shelley Walden @GovAcctProj                                                 
Consultant with the Government Accountability Project 
whistleblower.org

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

0
MUST-SEE PROGRAMMES