UN Secretary-General unveils new strategy to address sexual abuse by UN personnel

10 Mar 2017

UN Secretary-General unveils new strategy to address sexual abuse by UN personnel


New York, 10 March 2017  - The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has unveiled a new strategy designed to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse committed by those serving under the UN flag.

The strategy is outlined in a report Mr. Guterres unveiled on Thursday. He also recorded a video message outlining "a victim-centered strategy rooted in transparency, accountability and ensuring justice."

“Such acts of cruelty should never take place.  Certainly no person serving with the United Nations in any capacity should be associated with such vile and vicious crimes,” said the Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General acknowledged, “The vast majority of UN troops and personnel serve with pride, dignity and respect for the people they assist and protect, very often in dangerous and difficult conditions and at great personal sacrifice.” However, he added that the “Organization continues to grapple with the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse, despite great efforts over many years to address it.”

The report presents a four-step strategy, aimed to build a strong partnership with Member States and stamping out this scourge will require all relevant actors to find strength in unity.

“Let us do so in the name of all who look to the United Nations for life-saving protection and support – and on behalf of the tens of thousands of United Nations personnel around the world who deliver that assistance with courage and commitment to the highest ideals.”

The new strategy includes; Putting the rights and dignity of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse at the forefront of our efforts and establishing greater transparency on reporting and investigations in an effort to end impunity for those guilty of sexual exploitation and abuse.

The other strategies involve building a truly multi-stakeholder network to support the UN effort to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse; and raising awareness and sharing best practices to end this scourge.

“We owe it to the people we serve, to all of those women, men and children who see the UN flag as a symbol of something as invaluable as it is intangible: hope”.

The secretary general stresses the need to engage with UN Member States and calls for a high-level meeting on sexual exploitation and abuse on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September.

During his first week in office, in January 2017, the Secretary-General established a diverse High-Level Task Force, led by his Special Coordinator Jane Holl Lute, to develop as a matter of urgency a strategy to achieve visible and measurable improvements in the way the Organization prevents and responds to sexual exploitation and abuse.

The report will be presented to the General Assembly for consideration.