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.
media & news
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.
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)
January, 2017: For two months, the Code Blue Campaign has sought answers from the UN on how it handles sex abuse allegations against its own personnel. For two months, the UN has obfuscated and stonewalled. Read the full correspondence. (UN Photo / Cia Pak)
December 22, 2017: Code Blue responds to a letter from Atul Khare, the UN's Under-Secretary-General for Field Support. (UN Photo / Manuel Elias)
December 15, 2017: In an open letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the Code Blue Campaign seeks answers on the UN's handling of allegations of sexual abuse against UN civilian staff members and condemns a broader pattern of sexual harassment and abuse within the UN Organization. (UN Photo / Mark Garten)
November 22, 2017: In the wake of a new allegation of child rape against an international civil servant serving in MONUSCO, the Code Blue Campaign has issued an open letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres asking for answers about how the case is being handled. (UN Photo / Evan Schneider)
November 17, 2017: Yesterday, the UN posted new allegations of sexual abuse in MONUSCO, including by a UN civilian staff member. Read our statement.
September 18, 2017: Remarks by Paula Donovan, Co-Director, AIDS-Free World, at the Informal Discussion with the Special Coordinator and Civil Society Partners following the Secretary General’s High-Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. (Photo: DavidGoldmanphoto.com)
September 13, 2017 — A confidential source has provided AIDS-Free World’s Code Blue Campaign with internal case files that offer a rare glimpse into what really happens when the UN learns of violations of a sexual nature allegedly committed by peacekeepers. (UN Photo / Sylvain Liechti)
September 13, 2017: Case summaries of 14 internal fact-finding inquiries of sexual exploitation and abuse complaints conducted by the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in 2016 that were leaked to the Code Blue Campaign. (Photo: UN 'Keepers' case files).
June 20, 2017: The Code Blue Campaign responds to the decision to withdraw Congo/Brazzaville troops from the Central African Republic. (UN Photo/Nektarios Markogiannis)
June 6, 2017: The Code Blue Campaign has learned that a notorious battalion in the Central African Republic has been repeatedly flagged as a potential hive of dangerous predators. By failing to act, the UN is setting the stage for future abuse and placing women and children in harm's way. In an open letter to the UN Secretary-General, Code Blue's Paula Donovan and Stephen Lewis demand action. (Photo: UN / MINUSCA)
April 12, 2017: Shocking new revelations about what happened to children sexually abused in the Central African Republic by peacekeepers were revealed in a Code Blue Campaign press conference today. (Photo: SVT)
April 10, 2017: MEDIA ALERT: New revelations from children abused by peacekeepers. (Photo: SVT)
March 10, 2017: The Secretary-General asked for "game-changing strategies" on addressing sexual exploitation and abuse, but the new Special measures report on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse fails to deliver. (UN Photo / Violaine Martin)
October 13, 2016: The Code Blue Campaign is advocating for a new, independent system of special courts to deal with sexual abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel. This solution will provide impartial justice for victims, the accused, and the battered populations who currently have no real recourse to justice.
August 5, 2016: Which candidates for UN Secretary-General have supported the UN Accountability Pledge? Read the latest update. (UN Photo / Mark Garten)
July 29, 2016: As media reports detail horrific stories of mass rapes in South Sudan while peacekeepers stand idly by, Code Blue wonders whether any of the messages about the meaning of zero tolerance are sinking in. (UN Photo / Nektarios Markogiannis)
Read the latest news on the Code Blue Campaign and issues related to peacekeeper sexual exploitation and abuse.
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)
March 24, 2018: The Intercept's Madeline Kane interviews survivors of UN sexual assault and harassment. Code Blue's Paula Donovan unpacks the UN's flawed approach to allegations and the need for an independent, impartial Special Court Mechanism to investigate and address cases. (UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré)
March 16, 2018: The Code Blue Campaign comments on the UN Secretary-General's claims of a "downward trend" in allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in 2017, and points out that complaints against the UN's own civilian personnel represented 62% across the system.
March 14, 2018: In a bizarre speech to UNAIDS staff, the head of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, took aim at harassment whistleblowers and praised his outgoing deputy accused of assault for taking taking the ‘high road’, reports The Guardian's Rebecca Ratcliffe. (UN Photo / Mark Garten)
March 8, 2018: Foreign Policy's Lauren Wolfe examines leaked reports on the mishandling of a sexual assault investigation in UNAIDS, revealing the UN's faulty investigative standards and a deep-rooted culture of impunity when it comes to sexual harassment and sexual assault. (UN Photo / Milton Grant)
March 7, 2018: The Code Blue Campaign's Paula Donovan discusses the impact of the Oxfam scandal, the UN's sexual exploitation and abuse crisis, and Code Blue's proposal for a Special Court Mechanism to address abuses by UN personnel on WBEZ Worldview. (Photo: FCO)
February 27, 2018: Devex's Sophie Edwards reports on accountability gaps in the aid sector laid bare in the recent Oxfam scandal, and Code Blue's proposal for an independent Special Court Mechanism to address such abuses by UN Personnel. (Shutterstock.com)
February 23, 2018: Luiz Loures, UNAIDS' deputy chief who was investigated for sexual assault and sexual harassment, will not seek to extend contract, reports The Guardian's Rebecca Ratcliffe. Code Blue's Paula Donovan comments. (UN Photo/JC McIlwaine)
February 14, 2018: UNAIDS employees have been approached to sign a letter in support of a top UNAIDS official at the center of a recent sexual assault and sexual harassment investigation, reports The Guardian's Rebecca Ratcliffe. (UN Photo/Michal Novotny)
February 14, 2018: More details emerge on the mishandling of an investigation into a sexual assault allegation against a top official at UNAIDS. Code Blue's Paula Donovan comments. (Photo: WikiCommons)
February 13, 2018: The man at the center of a sexual exploitation scandal at Oxfam was dismissed by another British NGO seven years earlier for similar misconduct, IRIN has found. (UN Photo / Logan Abassi)
February 7, 2018: AFP reports on the mishandling of an investigation into alleged sexual assault by a top-level official in UNAIDS. (Photo: WikiCommons)
February 7, 2018: The Guardian's Rebecca Ratcliffe reports on an open letter to the UN Secretary-General sent by AIDS-Free World's Code Blue Campaign, detailing the gross mishandling of an investigation of alleged sexual assault and harassment by a high-ranking official at UNAIDS. (UN Photo / Kim Haughton)
January 18, 2018: The Guardian's Rebecca Ratcliffe writes on the UN's culture of impunity regarding sexual harassment and assault among UN staff. Code Blue's Paula Donovan comments. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)
January 16, 2017: USA Today reports on the United Nations' ongoing sexual exploitation and abuse crisis. The Code Blue Campaign's Paula Donovan highlights the UN's flawed approach to allegations of abuse. (UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe)
January 15, 2018: Radio France Internationale (RFI) interviews AIDS-Free World Co-Director, Paula Donovan, about the outcome of a legal case in French courts against French 'Sangaris' soldiers accused of sexual abuse of minors in the Central African Republic.