The next Secretary-General faces the challenge of making the UN more accountable, especially to the vulnerable populations that peacekeeping missions are sent to protect. Recent accountability crises in UN peacekeeping have tarnished the UN’s reputation and imperiled its ability to effectively promote human rights and the rule of law. Two ongoing crises particularly require urgent action:
- Despite an official policy of zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers and staff, the UN has been rocked by a series of scandals that expose widespread sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable civilians that peacekeepers are sent to protect. Ongoing failures of the UN system to prevent, investigate and punish the abuse and provide justice to the victims amplify the crisis.
- Despite overwhelming evidence that UN peacekeepers are responsible for the introduction of cholera to Haiti, which has sparked a devastating epidemic that has affected over 800,000 people to date, the UN has not accepted responsibility or provided remedies to those harmed by the epidemic.
The undersigned civil society organizations share a vision of a more just and stable world. We believe in the need for a strong and effective United Nations to realize that vision. Accordingly, we call upon the candidates for UN Secretary-General to pledge their commitment to building a more accountable and transparent United Nations by signing the following Accountability Pledge:
UN ACCOUNTABILITY PLEDGE
I recognize that if I am selected as the next Secretary-General, I will be personally entrusted with fostering a stronger, more effective United Nations. I recognize that accountability and transparency are vital to safeguarding the UN’s role as a promoter of human rights and rule of law.
Accordingly, if selected to serve as the next Secretary-General of the UN, I commit to the following:
- I pledge to make improved UN accountability, transparency and ethical integrity a key personal priority.
- I pledge to work with Member States to ensure that what Secretary-General Ban described as a “culture of impunity” around sexual exploitation and abuse is replaced by an impartial, accessible and effective accountability mechanism.
- I pledge to ensure that principles of immunity are not misused to shield UN peacekeeping personnel from accountability for sexual exploitation and abuse.
- I pledge to ensure that victims of cholera in Haiti have access to fair remedies.
- I pledge to work with Member States to secure immediate support for the control and elimination of cholera in Haiti.
Signed by: On this Day:
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The Accountability Pledge is endorsed by the following civil society organizations:
- African Women’s Development Fund (Ghana)
- AIDS-Free World (Canada, United States)
- Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (United States)
- Alternative Chance (Haiti)
- Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (Haiti)
- Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (Canada)
- CenterLaw (Philippines)
- Center for Accountability of International Organizations (Switzerland)
- Center for Constitutional Rights (United States)
- Center for Justice & Accountability (United States)
- Centre for Applied Legal Studies (South Africa)
- Defensa de Niñas y Niños - Internacional (Costa Rica)
- European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (Germany)
- Foundation for Fundamental Rights (Pakistan)
- Giuristi Democratici (Italy)
- Global Justice Center (United States)
- Government Accountability Project (United States)
- Human Rights Advocates (United States)
- International Federation for Human Rights (France)
- International Justice Resource Center (United States)
- Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (United States)
- Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (United States)
- Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre (Nigeria)
- Legal Resources Centre (South Africa)
- Li,Li,Li! Read (United States)
- MADRE (United States)
- MATCH International Women’s Fund (Canada)
- Mennonite Central Committee (United States)
- National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH) (Haiti)
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights (Palestine)
- Partners In Health (United States)
- Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (Mexico)
- REDRESS (United Kingdom)
- Report the Abuse (Switzerland)
- Socio-Economic Rights Institute (South Africa)
- World Federalist Movement – Canada (Canada)
- World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (Netherlands, United States)