17 December 2015
In the wake of the publication of the report of the Independent review on sexual exploitation and abuse by international peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein issued the following comment:
“I express my absolute support for the Secretary-General in his determination to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse by all international peacekeeping forces, both UN and non-UN, and to resolve any systemic weaknesses that have been identified by the review panel. I would like to stress in particular the paramount need at all times to place the protection of victims, especially children, above all other considerations.
“Having advocated for wide-ranging improvements in the past,* I believe much remains to be done, particularly by Member States, to make it possible for the UN to eradicate these odious and all-too-common acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by some UN troops and civilian staff, as well as by members of other non-UN peace-keeping forces.
“Investigations into sexual abuse must be made more systematic and effective, and those responsible for these most toxic of crimes must be punished, not least as a deterrence to others. I believe it is also extremely important that the UN system as a whole strengthens and accelerates its responses to all types of human rights violations.”
*In 2004-5, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein served as the Advisor to the Secretary-General on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN peacekeeping. His report, entitled “A comprehensive strategy to eliminate future sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peace-keeping operations” was published in March 2005. A number of its key recommendations have still not been adopted by the Member States of the United Nations.
The so-called “Zeid Report” can be viewed in six languages at: http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=A/59/710