UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addressed the High-Level meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse on September 18, 2018. Today, the UN said it received 70 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the second quarter of 2018. (Richard Drew/AP Photo)

Sexual exploitation in the aid sector elicits call for UN reform


The British Parliament issued a scathing report on “the horror” of sexual exploitation and abuse among charities, UN peacekeepers and aid agencies. It says the problem is endemic and has been going on for years. It cites a collective failure of leadership and self-delusion in the aid sector in tackling problems.

The advocacy group, AIDS-Free World has long campaigned against sexual exploitation within United Nations peacekeeping missions.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addressed the High-Level meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse on September 18, 2018. Today, the UN said it received 70 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the second quarter of 2018. (Richard Drew/AP Photo)

Sex abuse ‘undermining’ UN efforts, says advocate

“It’s absolutely critically important. It’s undermining everything that the United Nations does well and wants to do better and wants to continue to get international support for,” says Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World and its Code Blue Campaign. “The global public is simply outraged that these offences continue.

While Donovan is glad the report has brought attention to the issue, she says it does not offer systemic solutions to the UN sex abuse crisis. She says the UN sets the standards for the world’s humanitarian aid and development work, and it should be a gold standard. But she argues the UN has conflicting roles that must be addressed.


UN in ‘a three-way conflict of interest’

“It’s supposed to be defending the people who are accused because they are…staff and they’re also supposed to be looking out for the best interests of the populations that are supposed to be served by the UN but are being exploited and abused by them. And then…United Nations officials have the mandate to defend the reputation of the UN. So that’s a three-way conflict of interest,” says Donovan.

Call for a neutral-third party panel

She says the UN must get out of the business of policing and judging itself and instead leave that to neutral third-parties. The Code Blue Campaign advocates the creation of a temporary independent oversight panel through which member states could monitor the UN response to allegation of sexual offences and make rapid recommendations on UN policies and procedures.

Canada could lead an effort for change

Donovan says Canada could ‘absolutely’ have a special role to play in leading such an initiative. She notes that Canada invented peacekeeping and is an ‘incredibly’ important player on the world stage well respected by both the global North and the South. “It’s going to take some leading governments to really push this issue.”

Categories: International, Society
Tags: , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.


One comment on “Sexual exploitation in the aid sector elicits call for UN reform
  1. Avatar Peter Ashcroft says:

    Sexual exploitation is abhorrent at all times, whether carried out by religious or secular people and organisations anywhere in the world.
    Punishment should be inflicted on all guilty parties without exception.