The Code Blue Campaign seeks to end impunity for sexual abuse by UN personnel. Our approach is rooted in a feminist perspective, a steadfast belief in multilateralism, and a commitment to ensuring that the UN Organization created by Member States to carry out their collective will fulfills that mandate according to the UN’s founding principles.
When we launched the Code Blue Campaign in May 2015, we re-focused the world’s attention on the long-standing problem of sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping (read our original Campaign goals). Clearly, the UN cannot continue to police and judge itself.
We are advocating for a new, independent Special Court Mechanism in peacekeeping countries where the UN has unilaterally determined that existing law enforcement and judicial systems are not adequate. The Mechanism would remove barriers to justice for victims – the majority of whom are women and girls – and establish a fair, impartial, transparent system of justice to replace the double standard that now exists in peacekeeping countries. (Read the summary of our plan, A Proposal for Change.)
The Secretary-General concedes that the UN’s sexual abuse crisis is not confined to peacekeeping. In the immediate term, to address the UN system-wide crisis, the Code Blue Campaign proposes that Member States appoint a Temporary Independent Oversight Panel to oversee the Organization’s response to claims of sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse across all parts of the UN. The Oversight Panel would monitor every step taken from the receipt of each claim, through fact-finding and investigation, to the final outcome.
Only through impartial oversight, conducted by neutral, external, international experts, can Member States get an unfiltered, firsthand view of exactly how the Organization reacts when reports of sexual exploitation and abuse are filed against its own personnel. By watching the processes from start to finish as they unfold, the Oversight Panel can assess the system’s responses, identifying the points at which conflicts of interest impede justice. For the first time, Member States would be able to evaluate, in real time, the inherent problems in a system whose employees are authorized to police, investigate, and judge one another. Rather than repeatedly appointing expert commissions to conduct forensic reviews after the fact when details are leaked and sexual exploitation and abuse reach the headlines, the Oversight Panel would work proactively, gathering the firsthand evidence needed to evaluate the systems in place and recommend reforms. (Read the February 2018 summary of our proposal, An Urgent Interim Response to the UN’s Sexual Abuse Crisis)