GENEVA, June 7, 2016 — UN Watch called on UN chief Ban Ki-moon to investigate the UN human rights office (OHCHR) in the wake of today’s announcement that its top whistleblower Anders Kompass—the director of field operations at OHCHR, who exposed the rape of children by peacekeepers—is to resign in protest over “what he sees as the organization’s failure to hold its senior officials to account,” as reported by IRIN.
“The complete impunity for those who have been found to have, in various degrees, abused their authority, together with the unwillingness of the hierarchy to express any regrets for the way they acted towards me sadly confirms that lack of accountability is entrenched in the United Nations,” Kompass told IRIN. “This makes it impossible for me to continue working there.”
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said that Mr. Ban and also UN rights chief Zeid need to “fully apologize to Mr. Kompass, who is a hero for trying to protect abused children, in contrast to other UN officials, including at the highest levels, who did everything to protect both governments and their own careers.”
In its December 2015 report, an independent panel headed by former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps found “gross institutional failure” by the UN, whose officials, despite Mr. Kompass’ warnings, refused to respond to allegations that peacekeepers sexually abused children in Central African Republic.
The study, commissioned by the UN, found that children as young as nine were encouraged to take part in sex in exchange for food or money in the middle of a war zone. The alleged perpetrators were mainly French soldiers from a unit known as the Sangaris force which was operating under authorization of the UN Security Council.
Kompass had been suspended for disclosing an internal report on abuse to French prosecutors. Yet the inquiry report, entitled “Taking Action on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers,” exonerated him.
Initial complaints in early 2014, the report said, were “passed from desk to desk, inbox to inbox, across multiple UN offices, with no one willing to take responsibility.”