woensdag, april 29, 2015

Crime passionel UN aid worker ? ¨Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces ¨

¨Ik ben niet op deze wereld gekomen om onzichtbaar te zijn 
Ik ben niet geboren om ontkend te worden
 Ik heb het leven niet gekregen om van een ander te zijn
 Ik ben van mijzelf 
Ik heb een stem en die zal ik gebruiken.¨

uit:  Vrijheid geef je door  5 mei lezing  voormalige speciale VNgezant grote meren gebied 

29 - 4 2015
The Guardian 

A senior United Nations aid worker has been suspended for disclosing to prosecutors an internal report on the sexual abuse of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic.
Sources close to the case said Anders Kompass passed the document to the French authorities because of the UN’s failure to take action to stop the abuse. The report documented the sexual exploitation of children as young as nine by French troops stationed in the country as part of international peacekeeping efforts.
Kompass, who is based in Geneva, was suspended from his post as director of field operations last week and accused of leaking a confidential UN report and breaching protocols. He is under investigation by the UN office for internal oversight service (OIOS) amid warnings from a senior official that access to his case must be “severely restricted”. He faces dismissal.
The treatment of the aid worker, who has been involved in humanitarian work for more than 30 years, has taken place with the knowledge of senior UN officials, including Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the high commissioner for human rights, and Susana Malcorra, chef de cabinet in the UN, according to documents relating to the case.

The abuses took place in 2014 when the UN mission in the country, Minusca, was in the process of being set up.
The Guardian has been passed the internal report on the sexual exploitation by Paula Donovan, of the advocacy group Aids Free World, who is demanding an independent commission inquiry into the UN’s handling of sexual abuse by peacekeepers.
It was commissioned by the UN office of the high commissioner for human rights after reports on the ground that children, who are among the tens of thousands displaced by the fighting, were being sexually abused.
Entitled Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces and stamped “confidential” on every page, the report details the rape and sodomy of starving and homeless young boys by French peacekeeping troops who were supposed to be protecting them at a centre for internally displaced people in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic.
Donovan, the co-director of Aids Free World. said: “The regular sex abuse by peacekeeping personnel uncovered here and the United Nations’ appalling disregard for victims are stomach-turning, but the awful truth is that this isn’t uncommon. The UN’s instinctive response to sexual violence in its ranks – ignore, deny, cover up, dissemble – must be subjected to a truly independent commission of inquiry with total access, top to bottom, and full subpoena power.”
The UN has faced several scandals in the past relating to its failure to act over paedophile rings operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo and Bosnia. It has also faced allegations of sexual misconduct by its troops in Haiti, Burundi and Liberia.
The treatment of Kompass, a Swedish national, threatens to spark a major diplomatic row.
This month, the Swedish ambassador to the United Nations warned senior UN officials “it would not be a good thing if the high commissioner for human rights forced” Kompass to resign. The ambassador threatened to go public if that happened and to engage in a potentially ugly and harmful debate.

The abuses detailed in the internal report took place before and after Minusca was set up last year. Interviews with the abused children were carried out between May and June last year by a member of staff from the office for the high commissioner of human rights and a Unicef specialist. The children identified represent just a snapshot of the numbers potentially being abused.

The boys, some of whom were orphans, disclosed sexual exploitation, including rape and sodomy, between December 2013 and June 2014 by French troops at a centre for internally displaced people at M’Poko airport in the capital Bangui.

The children described how they were sexually exploited in return for food and money. One 11-year-old boy said he was abused when he went out looking for food. A nine-year-old described being sexually abused with his friend by two French soldiers at the IDP camp when they went to a checkpoint to look for something to eat.
The child described how the soldiers forced him and his friend to carry out a sex act. The report describes how distressed the child was when disclosing the abuse and how he fled the camp in terror after the assault. Some of the children were able to give good descriptions of the soldiers involved.
In summer 2014, the report was passed to officials within the office for the high commission of human rights in Geneva. When nothing happened, Kompass sent the report to the French authorities and they visited Bangui and began an investigation.
It is understood a more senior official was made aware of Kompass’s actions and raised no objections. But last month Kompass was called in and accused of breaching UN protocols by leaking details of a confidential report, according to sources.
Kompass’s emails have been seized as part of the investigation into the alleged leak. One senior UN official has said of Kompass that “it was his duty to know and comply” with UN protocols on confidential documents.
Bea Edwards, of the Government Accountability Project, an international charity that supports whistleblowers, condemned the UN for its witch-hunt against a whistleblower who had acted to stop the abuse of children.
“We have represented many whistleblowers in the UN system over the years and in general the more serious the disclosure they make the more ferocious the retaliation,” said Edwards. ”Despite the official rhetoric, there is very little commitment at the top of the organisation to protect whistleblowers and a strong tendency to politicise every issue no matter how urgent.”
UN sources confirmed an investigation by the French was ongoing – in cooperation with the UN – into allegations of a very serious nature against peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.
On Wednesday a spokesman for the French justice ministry told Reuters: “A preliminary investigation has been opened by the Paris prosecutor since July 31, 2014. The investigation is ongoing,” he said, declining to give further details.
A spokesman for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed an investigation was under way into the leaking of confidential information by a staff member.

The Guardian 
Tuesday 24 March 2015 

Sex abuse poses 'significant risk' to UN peacekeeping, says leaked report

Internal UN research talks of a culture of impunity and underreporting on sexual abuse cases in peacekeeping missions

The United Nations has been accused of ignoring an internal report that describes sexual exploitation and abuse as “the most significant risk” to peacekeeping missions across the globe.
The leaked internal document examines UN peacekeeping missions in Congo, Haiti, Liberia and South Sudan, where 85% of all sexual abuse cases against peacekeepers come from. Of the allegations made in these countries in 2012, 18 (30%) involved minors.
The actual number of incidents could be far higher, says the document, referring to significant under-reporting and poor record-keeping, which means that “the UN does not know how serious the problem of SEA [sexual exploitation and abuse] is”. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, in his annual report told members that the number of sexual abuse cases against UN peacekeepers was, at 51 in 2014, the lowest since measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse were put in place.

The report describes a culture of “impunity” when dealing with sexual cases among UN peacekeepers. “UN personnel in all the missions we visited could point to numerous suspected or quite visible cases of SEA that are not being counted or investigated,” the researchers said. These findings appear to contradict the secretary general’s assurance to member states that the UN had a zero-tolerance policy “towards all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse”.

The report was commissioned by the secretary general to monitor abuse in peacekeeping missions. It is an internal document, circulated within the UN, which was leaked to AIDS-Free World, an NGO advocating an urgent response to HIV and Aids.UN peacekeeping missions have been dogged by allegations of sexual abuse in the past. In 2006, peacekeepers in Liberia and Haiti were accused of forcing girls to perform sexual favours in return for food. Two years later, researchers from Save the Children found UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, southern Sudan and Haiti had raped children as young as 13. 
A UN official told the Guardian: “The report of the team of experts is an internal document that, from the team’s inception, was never intended for public release. As the secretary general has repeated, ‘a single substantiated case of sexual exploitation or sexual abuse involving United Nations personnel is one case too many’.”
In response, Dr Rosa Freedman, senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham School of Law, accuses the UN of ignoring the report.
“It seems that they’ve been looking to put this report in a drawer and cover up what the experts said,” she says. “On the issue of sexual abuse and exploitation, there are clear contradictions between what the experts set out in their research and what Ban Ki-moon would like to present as factual in his annual report to members.”
Paula Donovan, co-director at AIDS-Free World, says that both the findings of the report and UN’s reaction to it are “horrible” for the organisation.
“Many people don’t know a lot about the UN, and their first introduction to it is through peacekeepers and UN staff. So when these people commit these crimes, they are exploiting vulnerable people and doing great harm to the UN,” she says.

Mary Creagh, the shadow secretary for international development, called on the UN to be transparent with the experts findings in order to maintain public confidence.
“Sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers is completely unacceptable. The UN has worked hard over many years to tackle sexual exploitation in its peacekeeping missions but it is vital that the work of the independent experts who assess progress is published so public confidence is maintained,” she says.

“It is only when the full extent of exploitation and abuse is known that survivors can be supported and get the justice they deserve.”
The Labour MP’s views were echoed by Anwarul Chowdhury, former Bangladesh ambassador to the UN and former UN under-secretary general.
“When the UN flag goes to a country mandated by the security council it defends the role and objectives of the UN charter: to keep peace, improve human rights and support economic and democratic development,” he says. “Peacekeepers are the protectors of the people in the countries they serve. But if the protectors become predators, that ruins the good name of the UN.”
A UN official denied the report had been covered up and insisted that the organisation “remains committed to the implementation of the secretary-general’s zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN and related personnel. The secretary-general reports on this issue annually and he chaired a meeting of several heads of departments, agencies, funds and programmes in January 2015 and many of the recommendations and proposals are included in his 2015 report.”

The official added: “Dedicated conduct and discipline personnel deployed in field missions continue to support each field mission with the implementation of the United Nations three-pronged strategy to address sexual exploitation and abuse through prevention, enforcement and remedial actions. Details on concrete activities concerning each aspect of the strategy, including field missions’ specific examples, can be found in the latest report of the secretary-general on special measures for the protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, as well as in each of the preceding reports issued since 2005.”
 This article was corrected on 25 March 2015 because the 51 total allegations mentioned in the Secretary General’s annual report were made in 2014, not 2013 as was originally stated.

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