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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

Resignation of UN Whistleblower ‘Appears to Be a Damning Indictment’ of Failed Zero-Tolerance Policy

Bea Edwards, June 08, 2016

This week, Anders Kompass, the Director of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division of the Officer of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, announced his resignation. Kompass reported the sexual exploitation and abuse of children by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and rather than commending him, the High Commissioner ordered him investigated last year for leaking information. 

As Senator Bob Corker remarks in his public statement on the matter (shown below), the Kompass episode is a shocking misuse of authority and a gross distortion of the confidentiality principle at the United Nations. The High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, maintains his position and never issued any statement of apology to Kompass, even after an external investigation panel exonerated him and condemned the institutional response of the United Nations as a whole to reports of sexual abuse.

The UN itself subjected Kompass to a simultaneous internal investigation by the Under Secretary for the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). The OIOS investigation continued, though the external panel had exonerated Kompass. GAP worked to represent Kompass’ interests and testified before the external panel last October.

Corker: Resignation of UN Whistleblower ‘Appears to Be a Damning Indictment’ of Failed Zero-Tolerance Policy

“This resignation appears to be a damning indictment of the leadership at the United Nations that has failed to end the horrific sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and protect those who report wrongdoing.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement after top United Nations (U.N.) whistleblower Anders Kompass resigned in protest over the U.N.’s failure to hold senior officials accountable for allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by peacekeeping forces and efforts to silence those who revealed them.

“This resignation appears to be a damning indictment of the leadership at the United Nations that has failed to end the horrific sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and protect those who report wrongdoing,” Corker said. “The so-called 'zero-tolerance' policy has provided cover for a culture of impunity where allegations are swept under the rug and whistleblowers are intimidated to stop them from revealing the truth. The U.S. must use its influence as the largest contributor to peacekeeping to restore accountability and oversight of missions that are supposed to be about protecting vulnerable populations and restoring stability during conflict.”

Kompass’s former deputy, Miranda Brown, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing on April 13 in which Corker expressed disgust over continued reports of SEA and the failure of the U.N. to provide accountability.

“If I heard right now that a U.N. peacekeeping mission was going to North Chattanooga today, which is where my wife is, I would be on the first plane out of here to go home and protect her,” Corker said at the April 13 hearing. “I am disgusted by the actions of U.N. peacekeepers that American taxpayers are paying for, and I hope that somehow we’ll figure out a way to reel this in.”

At an earlier hearing on December 9, 2015, Corker questioned U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power about the U.N. strategy to effectively address and prevent SEA. The 2017 State Department authorization bill passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April included provisions to encourage U.S. leadership at the U.N. to end SEA and protect whistleblowers.

 

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