Thursday, April 30, 2015

This stinks

In 2014 the UN high commissioner for human rights commissioned a report into allegations of child sexual abuse by French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. The report confirmed that the allegations were true, with graphic reports of the rape and sodomy of starving and homeless young boys by the soldiers who were supposed to be protecting them. But rather than acting on the report, the UNHCHR buried it. When someone blew the whistle and passed it to French authorities so they could investigate crimes by their soldiers, the UN tried to sack them:

A senior United Nations aid worker has been suspended for disclosing to prosecutors an internal report on the sexual abuse of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic.

Sources close to the case said Anders Kompass passed the document to the French authorities because of the UN’s failure to take action to stop the abuse. The report documented the sexual exploitation of children as young as nine by French troops stationed in the country as part of international peacekeeping efforts.

Kompass, who is based in Geneva, was suspended from his post as director of field operations last week and accused of leaking a confidential UN report and breaching protocols. He is under investigation by the UN office for internal oversight service (OIOS) amid warnings from a senior official that access to his case must be “severely restricted”. He faces dismissal.

The treatment of the aid worker, who has been involved in humanitarian work for more than 30 years, has taken place with the knowledge of senior UN officials, including Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the high commissioner for human rights, and Susana Malcorra, chef de cabinet in the UN, according to documents relating to the case.

This absolutely stinks. And it stinks in exactly the same way as the Catholic Church's systematic coverup of child-sex abuse by those within its ranks does. In both cases, a powerful organisation has put its reputation ahead of justice. But as the Catholics learned, and the UN is going to find out, covering this sort of thing up is far worse, and taints the entire organisation as co-conspirators. And the UN, of all institutions, should be fucking better than that.