KEY UN DOCUMENTS AND RESOURCES
SECRETARY-GENERAL'S REPORT: SPECIAL MEASURES FOR PROTECTION FROM SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE (ISSUED 13 MARCH 2018) AND UN QUARTERLY UPDATES ON ALLEGATIONS
Quarterly update on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN system (latest update issued 30 July 2018)
STATISTICS ON ALLEGATIONS
In mid-2017, the UN began issuing quarterly updates on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN system:
https://www.un.org/preventing-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse/content/quarterly-updates (Last updated 30 July 2018, for the period April-June 2018)
For the latest statistics on allegations of peacekeeper sexual exploitation and abuse, please visit the UN's Conduct and Discipline website. (Note that the Conduct and Discipline website only includes allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel, and does not include statistics on non-UN international forces.) Detailed data from 2015-onward is available here.
The UN does not post the same level of detail about allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse outside of peacekeeping. Data on non-peacekeeping allegations for 2017 are compiled in annexes to the annual Secretary-General's Special Measures Report, and available here (with details of individuals in annex 4.c, beginning on page 14).
SECRETARY-GENERAL'S REPORTS and bulletin ON SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE
Each year, the UN Secretary-General produces a report “in compliance with General Assembly resolution 57/306 of 15 April 2003, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to maintain data on investigations into sexual exploitation and related offences." Each 'special measures' report presents data on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the United Nations system in the period from January to December of a given year. (Each report is listed according to the year it covers).
Quarterly update on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN system (latest update issued 30 July 2018)
Addendum: Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach (A/71/818 Add.1)
2016: Combating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (A/71/97)
2006: Special Measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (A/61/957)
2005: Special Measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (A/60/861)
Secretary-General’s Bulletin: Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13) (“SG’s Bulletin”)
October 9, 2003
Bulletin issued by the Secretary-General “for the purpose of preventing and addressing causes of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse... taking into consideration General Assembly resolution 57/306 of 15 April 2003, ‘Investigation into sexual exploitation of refugees by aid workers in West Africa.’” (source: ST/SGB/2003/13)
KEY UN Resolutions, Bulletins and reports related to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS
Security Council Resolution on UN peacekeeping operations (S/RES/2436)
September 21, 2018
Resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council on the need to improve behaviour, leadership, and accountability in peacekeeping. Paragraph 16 focuses on sexual exploitation and abuse. (S/RES/2436)
Security Council Resolution on peacekeeper sexual exploitation and abuse (S/RES/2272)
March 11, 2016
Resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council on peacekeeper sexual exploitation and abuse. (S/RES/2272)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTIONS
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: United Nations action on sexual exploitation and abuse – Sexual exploitation and abuse: implementing a zero-tolerance policy (A/72/L.69)
September 6, 2018
This resolution reaffirmed Member States’ commitment to the zero tolerance policy and decided to include in the provisional agenda of the UN General Assembly’s seventy-third session the item entitled “Sexual exploitation and abuse: implementing a zero-tolerance policy”.
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: United Nations action on sexual exploitation and abuse (A/RES/71/278)
March 10, 2017
The resolution reaffirmed Member States' commitment to the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and stressed the importance of States holding perpetrators accountable for abuse. Further, the resolution stressed the need for immediacy of information sharing between the Secretary General and all relevant entities concerning allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by both UN and non-UN personnel.
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: United Nations Comprehensive Strategy on Assistance and Support to Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by United Nations Staff and Related Personnel (A/RES/62/214)
March 7, 2008
This General Assembly resolution identifies the kinds of support that the UN will provide to victims and children born of sexual exploitation and abuse by 'United Nations staff and related personnel.'
Comprehensive review of a strategy to eliminate future sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping operations (A/59/300)
June 30, 2005
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly which endorsed the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and welcomed the Zeid Report.
Report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and its Working Group on the 2005 resumed session* (A/59/19/Add.1)
April 11, 2005
Following the submission of the Zeid Report in March 2005, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations met to consider the report and adopted recommendations on preventing future sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping operations. The Special Committee's Report was submitted to the General Assembly.
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: Investigation into sexual exploitation of refugees by aid workers in West Africa (A/RES/57/306)
May 22, 2003
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, which requested the Secretary-General ensure that "clear and consistent procedures for impartially reporting and investigating instances of sexual exploitation and related offences are in place in all United Nations peacekeeping missions and humanitarian operations" and " to maintain data on investigations into sexual exploitation and related offences, irrespective of age and gender, by humanitarian and peacekeeping personnel, and all relevant actions taken thereon." The Secretary-General's October 2003 Bulletin which outlined the UN's "zero tolerance policy" on sexual exploitation and abuse was drafted in response to this General Assembly resolution.
UN-COMMISSIONED Expert Reports on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
Taking Action on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers: Report of an Independent Review on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by International Peacekeeping Forces in the Central African Republic ("CAR Panel Report")
December 17, 2015
Report of the External Independent Review Panel ("CAR Panel") led by Justice Marie Deschamps into the UN's handling of peacekeeper sexual abuse by international forces in the Central African Republic. The report found three individuals had abused their authority, and cited "gross institutional failure" in the UN's handling of allegations of child sexual abuse. Watch Justice Deschamps, Ms. Yasmin Sooka and Mr. Hassan Jallow at the press briefing following the release of the report.
Report officially released, June 23, 2016: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/71/99
Final Report: Expert Mission to Evaluate Risks to SEA Prevention Efforts in MINUSTAH, UNMIL, MONUSCO, and UNMISS
("Expert Team Report")
November 3, 2013
In 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commissioned a team of experts to evaluate risks to the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse in four major peacekeeping missions: MINUSTAH (Haiti), UNMIL (Liberia), MONUSCO (DRC), and UNMISS (South Sudan). The 2013 report was submitted in November 2013, but was never made public. The expert team reported a "culture of impunity" in the UN's handling of sexual exploitation and abuse. In March 2015, AIDS-Free World released the report, along with an open letter to Member States.
A comprehensive strategy to eliminate future sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (A/59/710)
March 24, 2005
Report written by Prince Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, then Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, at the behest of the Secretary-General, in response to a request from the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations for a “comprehensive report with recommendations on sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeeping personnel.” (source: A/59/710)
SELECT UN Office of Internal OVERSIGHT SERVICES (OIOS) REPORTS
Evaluation of the Enforcement and Remedial Assistance Efforts for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by the United Nations and Related Personnel in Peacekeeping Operations
June 12, 2015
Evaluation report by the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services of the Enforcement and Remedial Assistance Efforts for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by the United Nations and Related Personnel in Peacekeeping Operations. The report revealed widespread, unreported sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and Liberia (UNMIL).
Investigation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (A/59/661)
January 5, 2005
Report of the investigation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services into allegations of “acts of sexual exploitation and abuse of Congolese women and girls by United Nations peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) in Bunia.” (source: A/59/661)
Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on the investigation into sexual exploitation of refugees by aid workers in West Africa (A/57/465)
October 11, 2002
Report by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on their investigation of “allegations... of sexual abuse and exploitation by humanitarian aid workers and peacekeepers in West Africa.” Also includes as an annex the Report of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Task Force on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Humanitarian Crises, “a newly adopted Plan of Action to strengthen mechanisms for protecting those who depend on international aid.” (source: A/57/465)
REPORTS ON UNITED NATIONS PANELS ON PEACE OPERATIONS
Report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (A/70/95–S/2015/446*) ("HIPPO Report")
June 16, 2015
Report of a high-level independent panel on peace operations, chaired by President José Ramos-Horta (East Timor), tasked by the Secretary-General to "undertake a thorough review of United Nations peace operations today and the emerging needs of the future." (A/70/95–S/2015/446*)
Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (A/55/305–S/2000/809) (“Brahimi Report”)
August 21, 2000
Report of a panel, chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, former Foreign Minister of Algeria, tasked by the Secretary-General to “undertake a thorough review of the United Nations peace and security activities, and to present a clear set of specific, concrete and practical recommendations to assist the United Nations in conducting such activities better in the future.” (source: A/55/305-S/2000/809)
MODEL MOU and SOFA for peacekeeping operations
Model Memorandum of Understanding (“Revised Model MOU”)
October 27, 2011
(Revisions outlined in Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-first Session, Supplement No. 19 (A/61/19/Rev.1) 2008; full text with revisions can be found in Chapter 9 of the ‘Manual on Policies and Procedures Concerning the Reimbursement and Control of Contingent-Owned Equipment of Troop/Police Contributors Participating in Peacekeeping Missions (COE Manual)’) (A/C.5/66/8)
A model, revised in 2007, to serve as the basis for agreements between the United Nations and any government that agrees to “contribute personnel, equipment, and services… to assist [a United Nations peacekeeping mission] to carry out its mandate.” The model reflects revisions made to incorporate various recommendations, including recommendations made in the Zeid Report. (source: A/C.5/66/8)
Model Status-of-Forces Agreement for Peace-Keeping Operations (A/45/594) (“Model SOFA”)
October 9, 1990
A model “intended to serve as a basis for the drafting of individual agreements to be concluded between the United Nations and countries on whose territory peace-keeping operations are deployed.” Developed by the Secretary-General in response to a request by the General Assembly. (source: A/45/594)
CRIMINAL ACCOUNTABILITY FOR UN STAFF AND EXPERTS ON MISSION
Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (A/RES/72/112)
November 6, 2017
The final version of this annual General Assembly resolution is forthcoming; it is currently available in draft form as A/C.6/72/L.18.
Report of the Secretary-General: Information-sharing practices between the United Nations and national law enforcement authorities, as well as referrals of possible criminal cases related to United Nations staff, United Nations officials and experts on mission
August 25, 2008
A report produced by the UN Secretariat in response to a UN General Assembly resolution on strengthening UN investigations (A/RES/62/247), building on the General Assembly resolution on criminal accountability (A/RES/62/63).
Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (A/RES/62/63)
December 6, 2007
The General Assembly's first substantive annual resolution on criminal accountability.
Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (A/62/329)
September 11, 2007
Note by the UN Secretariat in response to the Draft Convention outlined in A/60/980. Agreeing with the need for a Convention, “the Secretariat is of the view that the report’s recommendations should apply to all personnel in United Nations operations (including contractors and consultants) other than military members of national contingents. As Member States should already be in a position to exercise jurisdiction over military members of national contingents, the present note does not address such personnel.” (source: A/62/329)
Ensuring the accountability of United Nations staff and experts on mission with respect to criminal acts committed in peacekeeping operations (A/60/980)
August 16, 2006
A Group of Legal Experts carried out work from October to March 2006, resulting in the report and a draft convention (annex III). “The Group has made a number of recommendations that are designed to overcome the obstacles that exist in holding United Nations peacekeeping personnel accountable for crimes committed during peacekeeping operations. The Group recommends that priority be given by the United Nations to facilitating the exercise of jurisdiction by the host State. The United Nations should not readily assume that the host State is unable to exercise jurisdiction merely because a peacekeeping operation is carried out in a post-conflict area. If the host State is unable, even with United Nations assistance, to exercise all aspects of criminal jurisdiction, there will be a need to rely on other States to do so.”
Note that “the mandate of the Group of Legal Experts refers to the criminal accountability of officials of the United Nations and experts performing missions for the United Nations (see annex II). The Group understands “officials of the United Nations” to include United Nations staff and United Nations Volunteers, and “experts performing missions” to include United Nations police, military observers, military advisers, military liaison officers and consultants. The term “peacekeeping personnel” is used in the present report to refer to such persons.” (source: A/60/980)
Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies
November 21, 1947
Building on the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, this Convention clarifies the "legal capacity" and "privileges and immunities" of the UN's Specialized Agencies. https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/MTDSG/Volume%20I/Chapter%20III/III-2.en.pdf
Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations
February 13, 1946
Convention adopted to clarify elements of Article 104 and Article 105 of the Charter of the United Nations, with regards to “legal capacity” and “privileges and immunities” of the UN. http://www.un.org/en/ethics/pdf/convention.pdf
victims' rights advocates
On August 23, 2017, Ms. Jane Connors was appointed the UN's first Victims' Rights Advocate (VRA) at the Assistant-Secretary-General level. Four mission-level VRAs were also designated in 2017, in Haiti, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the VRA role is in addition to their existing duties).
UNMISS Press Conference with Jane Connors
December 7, 2017
The UN Assistant Secretary-General Victims’ Rights Advocate, Ms. Jane Connors, visited South Sudan in December 2017 to meet with UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) personnel, UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, international and national NGOs, government institutions and civil society. An audio recording of her press conference at UNMISS, in which she discusses her role and her visit to South Sudan, is available here.
Terms of Reference for the Victims' Rights Advocate
The Terms of Reference (TORs) and background about the new Victims' Rights Advocate position were circulated prior to Ms. Connors' appointment. https://www.un.org/sg/sites/www.un.org.sg/files/files/other-vacancies/VRA_TOR.pdf
Updates from the special coordinator on improving the un response to sexual exploitation and abuse
Newsletter of the Office of the Special Coordinator on improving the UN response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (Volume 2)
Volume 2 of the Newsletter of the Office of the Special Coordinator includes updates on: the publication of a newsletter by the Conduct and Discipline Team at the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA); a ‘baseline survey’ of awareness regarding UN standards on sexual exploitation and abuse; a UNHCR brochure on how to report sexual exploitation and abuse; the publication of an infographic tool on sexual exploitation and abuse; the launching of an ‘e-learning programme’ to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse; the compilation of a ‘repository of legal frameworks of troop- and police-contributing countries; and forthcoming conference on combatting sexual exploitation and abuse, to take place in 2017.
Newsletter of the Office of the Special Coordinator on improving the UN response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (Volume 1)
Newsletter published by the Office of the Special Coordinator on improving the UN response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse with the purpose of providing ‘an informal update of key initiatives underway led by relevant entities systemwide under the umbrella of the Office of the Special Coordinator’. Volume 1 includes updates on the ‘glossary of existing terminology related to sexual exploitation and abuse’; a ‘focus on the system-wide mapping exercise’ of UN documents, policies, procedures and stakeholders related to sexual exploitation and abuse; an update on the creation of a ‘database compiling all domestic policies rules and regulations on sexual exploitation and abuse in each troop-contributing county’; and the drafting of a ‘protocol on victim assistance’.
UN RESPONSE TO The CAR PANEL REPORT
August 4, 2016: Combating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (A/71/97)
The UN issued its response to the CAR Panel Report (see below, from December 2015) in a new report by the Secretary-General, entitled 'Combating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse,' released on August 4, 2016 (officially dated June 23, 2016). The report also covers initiatives undertaken across the UN system since February 2016 and in follow-up to UN Security Council Resolution 2272 of March 2016. At the same time, the UN released its first volume of a newsletter from the Office of the Special Coordinator on improving the UN response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. Dated August 2016, the newsletter covers highlights of this latest SG's report.
UPDAtes from un missions
MINUSCA Conduct & Discipline Team Newsletter (Issue 1 [Revised])
October 12, 2016
Newsletter published by the Conduct and Discipline Team (CDT) of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). ‘The purpose of this newsletter is to provide clarity and an update on the mandate and activities of MINUSCA’s CDT, and to reinforce CDT’s role as the central repository for sexual exploitation and abuse allegations’. The first issue focuses on: an outline of CDT’s role and responsibilities; a summary of CDT’s key activities; and a diagram on how to report sexual exploitation and abuse allegations and ‘and other forms of serious misconduct’.
UN 'No Excuses' Cards and flyers
December, 2016: United Nations 'No Excuses' Cards and Flyers on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
The Office of the UN Special Coordinator on improving the UN response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse produced ‘No excuses’ pocket cards and flyers, intended for UN peacekeeping and broader ‘UN family’ personnel.
'No excuse card - two page peacekeeping version' http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/documents/No_excuse_card-2pgs-v1_rev12dec.pdf
'No excuse card - four page peacekeeping version' http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/documents/No_excuse_card-4-page_v2_revB-12dec.pdf
'No excuse flyer - peacekeeping version' http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/documents/SEA_flyer-_v1-A4-revB_12dec.pdf
All versions of the ‘No excuse’ cards and flyers can be found at: https://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/issues/legalframeworks.shtml
Other relevant documents
Collective Statement of the Members of the Secretary-General’s Circle of Leadership on the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in United Nations Operations
A ‘collective statement’ signed by 49 heads of State/Governments who are members of the Secretary-General’s ‘Circle of Leadership on the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Operations’, reaffirming their commitment to supporting efforts to combat UN sexual exploitation and abuse. “We recognize the unique responsibility of the United Nations to set the standard for preventing, responding to, and eradicating sexual exploitation and abuse within the United Nations system, address its impact effectively and humanely, and safeguard and empower victims.” The statement was endorsed by 29 heads of United Nations entities.
Voluntary Compact on Preventing and Addressing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
A Voluntary Compact on preventing and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse, proposed by Secretary-General António Guterres at the High Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse held in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly on 18 September 2017. The Compact, “is intended to send a signal to the world of joint commitment and mutual accountability on the part of the United Nations and Member States on preventing and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse.” As of October 5, 2018, 100 Member States have signed the Voluntary Compact, which includes Member States that are processing for signatures. See a list of Member State signatories.
UN News: The Secretary-General announces Task Force on UN response to sexual exploitation and abuse
January 6, 2017:
A UN News article announcing Secretary-General António Guterres’ initiative to convene a high-level task force, “to develop as a matter of urgency, a clear, game-changing strategy to achieve visible and measurable further improvement in the Organisation’s approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse.”
United Nations Glossary on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Thematic Glossary of current terminology related to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) in the context of the United Nations
November 5, 2016:
A glossary comprised of, “a set of terms and definitions as they are normally used and understood by key UN entities in the context of SEA,” compiled by the Task Team on the SEA Glossary for the Special Coordinator on improving the United Nations response to sexual exploitation and abuse.
Infographic – Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Management of Reports and Allegations Involving UN Personnel in Peacekeeping and Special Political Missions
September 30, 2016:
An infographic produced by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, depicting the UN’s purported ‘victim-centered approach’ to and management of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel in peacekeeping and special political missions.
(Please note: The United Nations does not have the authority or the mandate to conduct criminal investigations. Please refer to: OIOS Investigation Manual (ST/AI/371): https://oios.un.org/resources/2015/01/OIOS_ID_Manual2015.pdf or the OIOS F.A.Q.: https://oios.un.org/page?slug=frequently-asked-questions)
A Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325
October 9, 2015
A global study on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, on women, peace and security, 15 years after it was adopted. The study referenced peacekeeper sexual abuse and recommended further exploration of the feasibility of an International Tribunal for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN peacekeepers.
Policy: Accountability for Conduct and Discipline in Field Missions
This policy, issued by the UN Departments of Political Affairs, Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, “sets out the framework in place to ensure the accountability for the conduct and discipline of all personnel serving in peacekeeping and special political missions.”
Report of the Secretary General. Comprehensive report prepared pursuant to General Assembly resolution 59/296 on sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, including policy development, implementation and full justification of proposed capacity on personnel conduct issues. (A/60/862)
May 24, 2006
The report proposes "a comprehensive justification for a proposed dedicated capacity to address conduct and discipline issues in United Nations peacekeeping operations as well as an overview of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations comprehensive strategy on sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeeping personnel."
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (S/RES/1325)
October 31, 2000
“It was the first Resolution to address the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women. [It] stresses the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace-building and peacekeeping. It calls on member states to ensure women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspective in all areas of peace-building.” (source: UN Peacekeeping, Women, Peace and Security)
Ten Rules: Code of Personal Conduct for Blue Helmets (1998)
“Since 1998, uniformed personnel have been provided with pocket cards of the Ten Rules: Code of Personal Conduct for Blue Helmets.” (source: UN Conduct and Discipline Unit)
Banner image: UN Photo / Ky Chung