the sushi plce (5).png

Part Five of Code Blue’s Overview series.

For more on Code Blue’s Overviews CLICK HERE.



In 2008, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution outlining a strategy to enable the UN "to facilitate, coordinate and provide, as appropriate, assistance and support to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff and related personnel." Yet resolution 62/214 made clear that "assistance and support" was "not intended as means for compensation."  

A trust fund for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse was proposed by then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his Special Measures reports of 2015 and 2016, which, according to the language of the latter, would "support specialized services required by victims of sexual exploitation and abuse." Secretary-General Ban did not outline how the trust fund would operate in practice. Unaddressed were such matters as who among the victims would receive assistance in the event that funds weren't sufficient to provide specialized services to all victims. 

The trust fund received few voluntary contributions from Member States during the tenure of Ban Ki-moon. 

In his Special Measures report of 2017, Secretary-General Guterres renamed the initiative the "Trust Fund in Support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse" and identified it as an important component of his New Approach. Although Mr. Guterres asked Member States to "permit direct assistance payments" to victims, for example to enable victims to attend trials, the Trust Fund appears to provide no such direct assistance to victims.  

In the report, Guterres asked Member States "to consider procedures [for the UN] to withhold reimbursement payments in the event that [Member State] investigations are not undertaken, reported on and concluded in a timely manner and to transfer the amounts withheld to the Trust Fund." 

He also pledged to ask "the Controller to explore the possible use of ex gratia payments to victims in exceptional cases and where the aforementioned Member States' designated mechanisms do not lead to an appropriate outcome." 

The UN has provided no evidence that either of these fund-raising procedures have been implemented. 

In the years since he announced it, Mr. Guterres has raised a little more than US$2 million in total for his Trust Fund from the 193 Member States, including headed by self-appointed members of the Secretary-General’s Circle of Leadership.

The severely limited Trust Fund monies have funded an indeterminate number of small community projects within peacekeeping countries, but none of the projects have been chosen to explicitly address the needs of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel. No requirements are in place to ensure that the project beneficiaries are victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel. 

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, projects receiving funding include an orphanage, a farm, and a baking enterprise. In Liberia, a general adult education program has been proposed as a Trust Fund recipient. No documents state whether victims are currently employed by or receiving assistance from any of those entities, or if so, how many victims have been served.