Wednesday, July 22, 2015

UN human rights official resigns over mishandling of child sexual assault allegations

The New York Times reports: The senior-most United Nations official to have been informed of allegations of child sex abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic last year, who took no action at the time, has resigned from her post, United Nations officials confirmed on Wednesday.
Flavia Pansieri, the deputy high commissioner for human rights, based in Geneva, is stepping down “for health reasons[.]”
It appears a report about the investigation was "leaked" by a Mr. Kompass to the French authorities before victim names were redacted.

Overall, there is an atmosphere of confusion, finger-pointing, and denial about when, to whom, and how complaints of serious sexual misconduct were reported. This is not a positive reflection of UN human rights activities.
The sexual abuse allegations brought new scrutiny to Mr. Kompass’ role, as well as on his superiors. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a panel to review how the United Nations system as a whole handles allegations of sexual abuse against peacekeepers.
The high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, is deeply familiar with the problems that the organization faces. In a previous role, Mr. al-Hussein pressed the United Nations to improve how it handles sexual abuse allegations in its peacekeeping missions.

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