The Code Blue Campaign works to end impunity for sexual abuse by un personnel
For over three decades, allegations of sexual abuse have been levelled against UN personnel around the world. The UN has a zero tolerance policy in place, so why does impunity persist?
We launched the Code Blue Campaign in May 2015 to end impunity for sexual abuse by UN personnel. Read more about the campaign, the changes we're seeking, and how we do our advocacy.
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Get the latest news, press releases, and updates from the Code Blue Campaign on sexual abuse by UN personnel.
Code Blue: The latest
Must-read updates, statements and press releases from the Code Blue Campaign.
October 9, 2019: Yet another United Nations entity—this time the World Food Programme (WFP)—is engulfed in a sexual abuse scandal. An independent survey found WFP to be a cesspool of harassment, discrimination against women and minorities, abuse of authority, and retaliation. The Code Blue Campaign issues a call—once again—for independent oversight. (UN Photo / Logan Abassi)
September 9, 2019: The newly released UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi report shows that Burundi government forces continue to commit sexual violence against women and girls with a shocking degree of impunity. The UN should end it complicity with an odious regime and cease deploying Burundian soldiers as UN peacekeepers. (UN Photo / Stuart Price)
August 14, 2019: AIDS-Free World extends congratulations to Winnie Byanyima on her appointment as Executive Director of UNAIDS, and wishes her luck as she tackles considerable internal and external challenges at the UN entity. (UN Photo / Amanda Voisard)
August 1, 2019: In a new statement, the Code Blue Campaign criticizes the UN for its failure to address the crisis at UNRWA and calls on Member States to intervene by creating an independent oversight panel. (UN Photo / Shareef Sarhan)
July 16, 2019: In a new letter to the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, the Code Blue Campaign calls on the UN to repatriate Burundian peacekeepers serving in the Central African Republic, ending a deployment that earns the brutal and autocratic regime millions of dollars and puts innocent civilians at risk. (UN Photo / Marco Dormino)
May 31, 2019: The UN’s Victims’ Rights Advocate convened an expert workshop to discuss a proposed statement of victims’ rights, but excluded experts with specialized knowledge of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel. (UN Photo / Nektarios Markogiannis)
May 3, 2019: Paula Donovan questions why António Guterres is paying Burundi for the use of its soldiers as UN peacekeepers, providing crucial sustenance to an autocratic regime under investigation by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. (UN Photo / Mark Garten)
March 19, 2019: The UN pays more than $13 million a year to Burundi for 767 peacekeepers, giving a government under investigation for crimes against humanity vital support for its campaign of mass rape and murder. (UN Photo / Martine Perret)
March 18, 2019: The Code Blue Campaign delivers a stinging denunciation of the UN Secretary-General's new Special Measures Report on sexual exploitation and abuse committed by UN personnel. (UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe)
February 25, 2019: The Code Blue Campaign responds to the UN Secretary-General’s announcement of a new Civil Society Advisory Board. (UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré)
January 16, 2019: The Code Blue Campaign delivers its initial reaction to the results of the UN’s sexual harassment survey. (UN Photo)
December 7, 2018: The Code Blue Campaign blasts the UN Secretary-General for failing to take decisive action in response to the recommendations of the Independent Expert Panel, which called for a change in leadership at UNAIDS. (UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe)
December 3, 2018: AIDS-Free World has learned that the leadership of UNAIDS is actively working to suppress a report produced by an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) appointed to look into sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse of power at the UN agency. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)
October 2018: The latest news and updates from the Code Blue Campaign. (Photo: Screenshot of DFID Safeguarding Summit)
October 17, 2018: In an open letter addressed to the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development on the eve of the "International Safeguarding Summit" in London, Code Blue’s Paula Donovan raises fundamental concerns about and objections to the organization of the conference. (Photo: UN WebTV)
September 26, 2018: In an Op-ed published in Inter Press Service, Code Blue’s Paula Donovan takes on the UN’s handling of an investigation into sexual harassment of a senior UN Women official—demonstrating the UN’s inability to remedy its sex abuse crisis from within. (UN Photo / Cia Pak)
August 16, 2018: After Prashanti Tiwari filed a criminal complaint against UNFPA’s Representative in India and Bhutan, Diego Palacios, the UN asserted immunity, falsely claiming that the accused is immune from legal process. A report detailing the findings of the internal UN investigation provides incontrovertible evidence that UNFPA is in the throes of a concerted effort to block criminal justice. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
July 31, 2018: Read the Code Blue Campaign’s statement on the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee’s new report, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the Aid Sector. (UN Photo/Staton Winter)
July 31, 2018: Read our open letter to Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA, on an ongoing case of sexual assault and sexual harassment by a UNFPA official in India. (UN Photo/Manuel Elias)
July 2018: In the inaugural issue of the Code Blue Bulletin, we provide updates on our multi-faceted advocacy. Read about Paula Donovan's appearance before the UK Parliament, our "community consultation" in Sierra Leone, a troubling case of UN immunity in India, problems with the UN's Victims' Rights Advocate, the latest on the ongoing UNAIDS scandal, and Saramba Kandeh's appearance at a Nairobi conference. (Photo: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office)
July 9, 2018: In May 2018, Code Blue held its first “Community Consultation” in Sierra Leone, hearing from over 100 residents of Mile 91, a town in the country’s Northern Province. (Photo: ©AIDS-Free World)
June 5, 2018: Paula Donovan delivers an urgent message to the UK Parliament’s Inquiry on sexual exploitation and abuse. (Photo: ©AIDS-Free World)
May 4, 2018: This week the UN announced that it would “reopen” the case against Loures, this time with the UN’s New York-based Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) as investigators and the Director-General of the World Health Organization as the judge. In a new statement, Code Blue cries foul. We believe WHO’s Internal Oversight Service must become the subject of a new investigation, UNAIDS management must also be investigated, and, most important, Member States must monitor the investigations in real-time. (UN Photo / Manuel Elias)
April 27, 2018: Code Blue’s Paula Donovan and Stephen Lewis react to UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ decision to open a new OIOS investigation into sexual assault and sexual harassment claims against UNAIDS Assistant-Secretary-General Luiz Loures. (UN Photo / JC McIlwaine)
March 16, 2018: The Code Blue Campaign writes an open letter to Atul Khare, UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, detailing our concerns about the case of an international staff member in the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) who was accused of multiple rapes of a child. (UN Photo / Ryan Brown)
February 23, 2018: The Code Blue Campaign reacts to the news of Luiz Loures, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director at UNAIDS' impending departure from UNAIDS. Code Blue asks: 'Will this start the #MeTooUN movement?'. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)
February 23, 2018: The Code Blue Campaign's proposal that Member States establish, on an emergency basis, a Temporary Independent Oversight Panel to closely monitor and evaluate, in real time, the UN’s response to individual allegations of sexual offences, and make expert recommendations on UN policies and procedures. (UN Photo / Jennifer S Altman)
February 14, 2018: The Code Blue Campaign warns against bogus statistics from so-called experts about UN sexual abuse. (UN Photo / Logan Abassi)
February 12, 2018: A follow-up open letter from Code Blue to UN Secretary-General António Guterres regarding allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment at UNAIDS. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)
February 5, 2018: An open letter from Code Blue to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. (UN Photo / Manuel Elias)
Read the latest news on the Code Blue Campaign and issues related to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment within the UN system.
March 19, 2019: The Burundian government of Pierre Nkurunziza is doing all that it can to avoid the scrutiny of the international community. But the repression of the Nkurunziza regime is impossible to hide. Read Lewis Mudge's op-ed.
(UN Photo/Loey Felipe)
January 1, 2019: In a new editorial, The Lancet urges the UN Secretary-General to honor the noble history of HIV and AIDS activism and promptly dismiss the embattled UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. (UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe)
December 22, 2018: The Lancet’s John Zarocostas examines the UNAIDS scandal and the news of Michel Sidibé’s departure from the UN agency. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan comments. (UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré)
December 22, 2018: The Lancet’s editorial board calls on UN Secretary-General António Guterres to step up his response to the findings of an independent expert panel examining sexual harassment, abuse of office and bullying at UNAIDS. (UN Photo / Cia Pak)
December 13, 2018: The Telegraph’s Anne Gulland reports on increasing pressure against the head of UNAIDS to step down. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan, “said Mr Sidibé should go immediately, not at a time of his choosing.” (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
December 13, 2018: AP’s Jamey Keaten reports on the news of Michel Sidibé’s announcement that he will leave his post in June 2019 after a scathing independent report revealed gross mismanagement at UNAIDS. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan comments on the decision. (UN Photo / Rick Bajornas)
December 13, 2018: Following the release of an independent report on harassment and mismanagement at UNAIDS, the agency’s Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, has offered to resign in June 2019. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan comments. (UN Photo / Mark Garten)
December 12, 2018: The Swedish government has announced it is to withhold funding to UNAIDS until its Executive Director, Michel Sidibé resigns, reports The Guardian’s Rebecca Ratcliffe. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan calls on the UN Secretary-General to fire Sidibé immediately. (UN Photo / Cia Pak)
December 11, 2018: After an Independent Expert Panel released a report highly critical of UNAIDS’ leadership amid a sexual harassment and management scandal, AFP reports on a meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board to discuss the findings of the report. (UN Photo / Eskinder Dedebe)
December 7, 2018: The Guardian’s Rebecca Ratcliffe reports on the release of the Independent Expert Panel report on UNAIDS. The Code Blue Campaign’s Paula Donovan comments on the broader implications of the report. (UN Photo / Mark Garten)
December 7, 2018: AFP’s Ben Simon reports on a new report released by an Independent Expert Panel tasked with reviewing UNAIDS’ response to sexual harassment and abuse. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan comments. (UN Photo / Isaac Billy)
October 18, 2018: The Guardian’s Karen McVeigh and Hannah Summers report on a protestor’s intervention during the UK Development Minister’s speech to the DFID Safeguarding Summit. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan critiques the organization and intention of the conference.
October 18, 2018: As the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Minister Penny Mordaunt began to deliver remarks at today’s DFID ‘International Safeguarding Summit’, Ms. Alexia Pepper de Caires walked onto the stage in protest, confronting Ms. Mordaunt about DFID’s actions to silence activists at the event.
September 29, 2018: Al Jazeera’s Ruairi Casey explores the UN’s sexual exploitation and abuse crisis. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan comments on the UN’s inability to deliver justice to victims. (UN Photo/Herve Serefio)
September 18, 2018: A senior UN Women official, Ravi Karkara was dismissed from his post following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. Code Blue’s Sharanya Kanikkannan comments. (UN Photo / Devra Berkowitz)
August 16, 2018: The Guardian’s Hannah Summers reports on Prashanti Tiwari’s sexual assault and harassment claim against UNFPA’s Representative in India, Diego Palacios. Code Blue’s Sharanya Kanikkannan comments on the mishandling of the investigation. (Photo: Twitter)
July 22, 2018: In an op-ed for Section 27 and the Treatment Action Campaign’s (TAC) ‘Spotlight’, Code Blue’s Paula Donovan reveals leaked information about UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé’s plan to dismantle the agency within the year. (UN Photo / Mark Garten)
June 3, 2018: Code Blue’s Paula Donovan revealed that the official chairing the board of UNAIDS said its leaders have “no appetite” for pursuing action over specific sexual harassment allegations, reports The Independent. (UN Photo / Cia Pak)
May 14, 2018: We’ve raised serious concerns about the UN’s decision to “reopen” the sexual assault and harassment case against Luiz Loures, former Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS. The UN has so far been unwilling to answer basic questions about the mandate and scope of the new investigation. Watch as Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, fields skeptical queries from members of the UN press corps. (UN WebTV)
April 30, 2018: AP reports the UN’s decision to reopen an investigation in sexual harassment claims at UNAIDS. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan, explains the need for a Temporary Independent Oversight Panel to monitor UN investigations and decision-making on sexual offenses. (UN Photo / John Isaac)
April 30, 2018: Martina Brostrom, the claimant in the high profile sexual assault and harassment case against former Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, Luiz Loures, has, “no confidence,” in the UN’s decision to reopen an internal investigation into the case. Code Blue argues that the same conflicts of interest that marred the first inquiry, will be present in the reopened investigation.
April 30, 2018: The country director for UNAIDS in Ethiopia, a key witness in the sexual assault investigation involving UNAIDS’ Luiz Loures, has been suspended after giving evidence to support claims against Loures. Code Blue’s Paula Donovan calls the move “pure intimidation tactics”. (UN Photo / Manuel Elias)
April 27, 2018: UNAIDS has reopened a sexual assault investigation into a top official after a heavily criticised earlier probe cleared him of wrongdoing, a letter seen by AFP on Friday showed. (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe).
April 27, 2018: The United Nations will reopen an investigation into allegations of sexual assault by the former Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, Luiz Loures, after the original inquiry, criticized as "deeply flawed" by his accuser, cleared him earlier this year. (UN Photo / JC McIlwaine)
April 26, 2018: In the weeks following revelations of gross mishandling of sexual assault and sexual harassment claims at UNAIDS, civil society organizations are speaking out against UNAIDS’ Executive Director, Michel Sidibé. (UN Photo / Rick Bajornas)
April 19, 2018: AFP's Ben Simon reports on mounting pressure on the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, to be held to account for sheltering top UNAIDS officials accused of wrongdoing, including sexual assault. (UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré)
April 17, 2018: The Lancet issues a powerful editorial on sexual harassment and abuse at UNAIDS (UN Photo/ Eskinder Debebe)
April 17, 2018: In a special in-depth report, The Lancet's John Zarocostas reports on the mishandling of sexual harassment and assault claims at UNAIDS, and mounting pressure on its Executive Director. Code Blue's Paula Donovan remarks on the UN's flawed internal system and calls for Temporary Independent Oversight Panel to closely monitor and evaluate, in real time, the UN’s response to individual allegations of sexualised offences. (Photo: WikiCommons)
March 30, 2018: In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, a United Nations staff member, Martina Brostrom spoke publicly about allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment against UN assistant secretary general, Dr. Luiz Loures, (UNAIDS). Code Blue's Paula Donovan, who brought Ms. Brostrom's appeal to CNN, makes the case for an, "external neutral, and independent body" to handle such allegations.
March 29, 2018: Deutsche Welle's Isaac Mugabi interviews Co-Director Paula Donovan, on the Code Blue Campaign's work to end impunity for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel. (UN Photo / Basile Zoma)