FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AIDS-Free World Statement on UN External Independent Review
— Statement by AIDS-Free World on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's announcement of an External Independent Review into allegations of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic and the UN system's response —
June 3, 2015 — The announcement from the Secretary-General today of plans for an external, independent review to examine events following the sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic is to be welcomed. It responds to one of the urgent demands that AIDS-Free World has been making over the last several weeks, and since we launched our Code Blue campaign.
The Secretary-General has three challenges.
First, this must be a truly external and independent inquiry. No member of existing UN staff should be appointed to investigate nor to act as the investigators’ secretariat.
Second, it must be understood that top members of the Secretary-General’s own staff will have to be subject to investigation. This must go right up to the level of Under-Secretaries General. No one can be excluded, whether the Director of the Ethics Office or the USG of the Office of Internal Oversight Services or the Secretary-General’s own Chef de Cabinet. It would appear that all of them and more acted inappropriately in response to the dreadful events in CAR.
Third, the reference in the Secretary-General’s announcement of a review to ‘the broad range of systemic issues’ is crucial to the inquiry. What happened in the Central African Republic was an atrocity, but the fact that the UN stood silent for nearly a year after its own discovery of widespread peacekeeper sexual abuse (even if by non-UN troops) is itself a bitter commentary on the Secretary-General’s declared policy of ‘zero tolerance’.
If Mr. Ban Ki-moon and Member States want to rescue zero tolerance, they must cleanse the UN system of negligence and misconduct once and for all.
AIDS-Free World is an international advocacy organization that exposes injustice, abuse and inequality. We apply high-level advocacy, targeted legal strategies and creative communication to work for a more just world. Code Blue is AIDS-Free World's campaign to end immunity for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel.