The Ongoing United Nations Sex Abuse Scandal

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Submitted by Olivia on Tue, 2019-06-11 02:29

By Olivia Pierson

On the United Nations official website, under the label of “What We Do,” the Organisation claims to be committed to four major objectives on this globe, the second of which is proudly described thus:

The term “human rights” was mentioned seven times in the UN's founding Charter, making the promotion and protection of human rights a key purpose and guiding principle of the Organization. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought human rights into the realm of international law. Since then, the Organization has diligently protected human rights through legal instruments and on-the-ground activities.

In 2004, after hearing about 72 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse between May and September of that year alone by members of the peacekeeping forces, the late Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, sent an investigator to the Congo to see what was happening on-the-ground of that mission. Aeid Raad Al Hussein, a top UN special advisor, wrote a damning report criticising the United Nation’s own investigations into the abuse. He said that the UN as a body had no criminal jurisdiction over their many peacekeepers, the most it could do was to fire an offender; criminal accountability was up to the individual governments of member nations to carry out.

That is an astonishing loophole. The 193 member states are responsible for instigating criminal prosecutions, yet their ability to have a process to go by in order to collect the evidence required for prosecutions is disgracefully inadequate.

From Cambodia, to Mozambique, Bosnia to the Congo, South Sudan, the Ivory Coast, Central Africa and Haiti, horrific abuses have been committed by both uniformed and civilian peacekeepers towards the vulnerable that they are employed to protect, since 1992 to the present day.

Valerie, a fourteen year-old girl selling bananas in the Congo was lured to a hotel by a French civilian peacekeeper earning $7k per month, Didier Bourget. He paid Valerie for sex, sometimes giving her as little as $2. Valerie did not report the abuse.

Bourget exploited and sexually abused between 20 - 25 young girls. Eventually, he was arrested by French authorities, but was charged with only two counts of abuse. He went to prison for nine years and has been the only civilian peacekeeper ever brought to justice for such a case, despite the UN declaring it would stamp out all forms of abuse.

Ten year-old Daniella was raped by two French peacekeepers. She did not report it.

Fifteen year-old Alexi, and other boys around his age, were given left-over rations in exchange for performing oral sex on peacekeepers. A human rights investigator compiled a report on 20 abusive peacekeepers, which was ignored by the UN before it was leaked to the media. An internal inquiry was launched which concluded that the complacency of the UN on this issue was itself an abuse of authority at the top levels of the Organisation. Only one official lost their job.

A full criminal inquiry was then launched by the French, but prosecutors threw the case out as they said that testimony from the abused children was inconsistent, but other officials involved were sure that the evidence was clearly there. An appeal was made to prosecute. The request was denied.

As vicious fighting became more intense in the Central African Republic, the UN stationed 800 Congolese troops to oversee and protect the people of Bambari, yet the Congolese army had already been accused by the UN of rape and shocking sexual violence against their own people. This mission in Bambari resulted in a slew of new abuses, including an eleven year-old school girl, Amanda, who was raped and left pregnant by a Congolese peacekeeping soldier.

UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, created the new role of Victims Rights Advocate to address the issues of helping young victims like Amanda, Valerie, Daniella and Alexi, but the only help just one of them received was some counselling.

Peacekeeping forces now have to go through “sexual abuse and exploitation training” before they are deployed and are forbidden from socialising with the people they’re protecting.

Out of the 193 member states of the UN, none have been persuaded to adopt the recommendations highlighted in the original report compiled by Al Hussein.

The Frontline award-winning documentary titled UN Sex Abuse Scandal, on which this article is based, saw its correspondent, Ramita Navai, reach out to the UN member states asking to interview their delegates about why they have not implemented the recommendations of the report, but none agreed to be interviewed.

Since 2003, 1700 allegations of sexual abuse have been made resulting in only 53 perpetrators going to prison. 32 new allegations were made in 2018 alone.

French civilian ex-peacekeeper and sexual-abuser, Didier Bourget, is now a free man. He is homeless and lives in the South of France.

The claim on the United Nation’s website, that the Organisation has “diligently protected human rights through legal instruments and on-the-ground activities” has been shown to be demonstrably false.

The Geneva-based organisation Hear Their Cries exists for the sole reason of dealing with UN sexual abuse, claiming there to be 60,000 victims per decade, a figure they consider to be on the conservative side. Their website homepage displays this quote:

First, sexual exploitation and abuse is not a problem of peacekeeping, it is a problem of the entire United Nations. Contrary to the information spreading that this is a question related to our peacekeeping operations, it is necessary to say that the majority of the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse are done by the civilian organizations of the United Nations, and not in peacekeeping operations.
[18 September 2017 Secretary-General's address to High-Level Meeting on the United Nations Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.]

The United Nations extends ridiculous amounts of time, energy and finances to have shit-hole countries morally lecture highly developed, democratic Western countries, like New Zealand when it consistently fails to protect Earth’s most vulnerable women and children in said shit-hole countries. What a farce.

It's high time for individual Western countries to stop funding the United Nations. The Organisation is now a mere facilitator of the worst human rights abusers in the world as it rapaciously exists on the lucrative dime of charity and global government funding. This is pure wickedness.