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Whistleblower’s Letter Reveals Office of UN Secretary General Knew of Child Sex Abuse Months Before Taking Action

June 11, 2015
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 11, 2015

Action Finally Taken: Whistleblowers, Not Abusers, Punished

(WASHINGTON) – On June 11th, a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations from Miranda Brown, a former senior official at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva and a client of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), revealed that his office was aware of child sex abuse allegations involving French and African troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) in August, 2014.

According to Brown, who was Acting Director of the Africa Branch at OHCHR last summer, the  handling of allegations of the sexual abuse of children was elevated to the Secretary General’s Office  when Anders Kompass, a senior official at the OHCHR, sent the report Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces in the M’Poko IDP camp in Bangui, Central African Republic to French authorities through the French Mission in Geneva.

Brown lost her position at the OHCHR on May 21, the day before she was to be interviewed by investigators from the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) in connection with the retaliation against Kompass for reporting child sex abuse to law enforcement in France, which had jurisdiction over the issue. Brown’s testimony in the investigation and an imminent external inquiry is crucial. According to her letter, released today:

[T]he Special Assistant to Deputy High Commissioner Flavia Pansieri, Ms Linnea Arvidsson, sent an email to the Executive Office of the Secretary General informing the UN leadership about the allegations of child sexual abuse in the Central African Republic and advising the UN leadership that the unredacted MINUSCA [Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic] report had been transmitted to the French Government. Thus the UN leadership, including your Executive Office and the Deputy Secretary General, was aware that the unredacted MINUSCA report had been transmitted to the French Government.

Kompass was suspended by the OHCHR in April, 2015 for what the United Nations Spokesman characterized as a leak eight months earlier of the MINUSCA report. Both Brown and Kompass maintain that the transmission of the report was in fact an official communication acknowledged at the time by the French Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Nicolas Niemtchinow. Moreover, both the report and the official acknowledgement of receipt in the French Mission were sent immediately to the Executive Office of the Secretary General and of the Deputy Secretary General; both were informed of the report’s transmission shortly after Kompass took action.

Bea Edwards, GAP Executive Director said:

"We can only wonder now, why Mr. Kompass was accused of breaching disclosure protocols eight months after the highest officials at the United Nations were officially made aware of his actions and accepted them. Thus far, there is neither a coherent nor a consistent explanation from the UN Secretariat."

CONTACT: Andrew Harman, GAP Communications Director
Phone: (202) 457-0034 Ext. 156
Email: andrewh@whistleblower.org

 

Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP's mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. GAP was consulted by U.N. management when the organization created its initial protection against retaliation policy and has advised several staff associations within the U.N. system about whistleblower protections.

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