UN Unable to Answer Code Blue
Queries on Sex Abuse Process
We have been corresponding with the senior-most levels of the UN for the past several months, spurred by a report that an international staff member in the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) had been accused of raping a child. We have sought specific answers to specific questions on the UN’s policies and procedures for responding to allegations of sexual abuse against UN personnel. Among our queries: What is the UN’s policy for referring credible complaints against UN staff to appropriate authorities for criminal investigation? How does the UN determine whether sufficient evidence exists to warrant a criminal investigation?
The UN has been unwilling and unable to provide us – and thus the public – with a precise account of how such critical matters are handled in the real world. The correspondence has affirmed our belief in the need for our proposed Special Court Mechanism, which would take over the investigation and adjudication of cases like the one in MONUSCO.
November 22, 2017
After the announcement of the MONUSCO child rape case, the Code Blue Campaign wrote to the Secretary-General in an attempt to learn basic facts about how the UN was handling the case.
Download: Latest UN Sex Assault Raises Urgent Questions
November 28, 2017
Instead of hearing from the Secretary-General, the Code Blue Campaign received a letter from Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations Department of Field Support Atul Khare, who offered general comments about UN procedures and practices and indicated the UN is “not in a position to provide answer to the specific questions” about an “ongoing investigation.”
Download: USG Atul Khare Response to AIDS-Free World, 28 November 2017
December 1, 2017
In response, the Code Blue Campaign consulted with international legal experts and asked a series of questions – 23 of them in all – for the purpose of having the UN “define and clarify” its general procedures on sexual abuse cases of this sort.
December 15, 2017
After two weeks, the Code Blue Campaign wrote an open letter to the Secretary-General, outlining our concerns about the opacity of the UN's processes and proposing an independent survey of all UN staff to reveal the true size and scope of the UN's sex abuse problem.
December 19, 2017
The UN responded to our pointed, legally-vetted questions with a collection of resolutions and documents that provide "an overview of the Organization's approach in relation to each of the aforementioned areas of action."
December 22, 2017
The Code Blue Campaign sent an interim response, identifying nine out of the 23 questions that were not covered in any way by the resolutions and documents.
December 22, 2017
The UN responded within hours. "The Secretary-General has addressed these issues, through his reports to the General Assembly and through our responses to Code Blue and other civil society organizations,” the letter read.
Download: Letter from USG Atul Khare to AIDS-Free World, 22 December 2017
March 16, 2018
Following the release of the Secretary-General’s Special Measures report on sexual exploitation and abuse – which described the MONUSCO case as “pending” – we sent an open letter to Mr. Khare. In it, we summarized the legal bases for our concerns in this case and renewed our call for a Special Court Mechanism, which would assess, refer (where applicable), investigate, and prosecute UN personnel who are accused of committing criminal sexual offenses.
Download: Letter to USG Atul Khare, 16 March 2018
(UN Photo / Cia Pak)