NYT Opinion: U.N. Sex Abuse Inquiry
June 12, 2015: A former senior UN official commends Ban Ki-moon and AIDS-Free World for pursuing the issue of sexual abuse in UN peacekeeping missions. (Photo: UN Photo / Tim McKulka)
Re “U.N. Panel to Review Response to Abuses” (news article, June 4):
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon deserves credit for his courage in instituting a commission of inquiry into the cover-up of sexual abuse of children by French troops in the Central African Republic, even though this might implicate high-level officials he himself appointed as well as some institutional pillars of the United Nations system.
This cover-up of the most vicious form of sex abuse meant not only that terrible acts went unpunished; it also led to scores of other very young children continuing to be abused by troops. Thanks are also due to AIDS-Free World, the organization that has single-mindedly pursued this case and the issue of sexual abuse in United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa.
The commission’s inquiry is among the most crucial the United Nations has ever undertaken. These peacekeeping missions have been plagued by accusations of sexual abuse for decades, and the zero-tolerance policy announced by the United Nations in 2003 has sat mostly on the shelf.
These abuses sully the United Nations’ standing, as well as respect for the very concept of human rights, which the world body pioneered through its Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
The writer, a former senior United Nations official, served as spokesman for the United Nations mission in Iraq in 2003. http://nyti.ms/1GzR2j2