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UN Panel of Experts Vindicates Official Who Reported Child Sex Abuse

December 17, 2015
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GAP Client Anders Kompass Cleared of Bogus Charges By UN After Halting Childing Sex Abuse in the Central African Republic

(WASHINGTON) – Today, the panel appointed by the UN Secretary General to assess the Organization’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) exonerated Anders Kompass, the senior human rights official who reported the incidents to law enforcement. Kompass had been charged by the UN of abuse of authority for ‘leaking’ an account of the incidents.

In the spring and summer of 2014, according to notes prepared for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), soldiers of France, Chad and Equatorial Guinea allegedly demanded sexual services from young boys in a camp for those displaced by war in the CAR. In exchange, the soldiers gave the boys, who were hungry and destitute, food rations and petty cash.  Eight months after Kompass reported the assaults to the French police, the High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, asserted that Kompass’ action had endangered the abused children by revealing their names to law enforcement in France. The Panel’s report, however, contradicted Zeid’s accusation by noting that the abuse stopped after Kompass transmitted the information officially, yet confidentially, to French authorities, while earlier informal contacts that lacked specifics failed to have an impact.

In reaction to the Panel’s report, Anders Kompass wrote this morning:

“After forty years of human rights work, I was finally made to feel what most human rights defenders go through in pursuing their mission: I was arbitrarily accused and summarily condemned before an investigation even took place; I was unlawfully suspended from work and sent home in disgrace under the eyes of my co-workers; and I was sentenced to silence while my actions were scrutinized, my reputation smeared and my work destroyed.

Today, the External Review Panel appointed by the Secretary General has finally published its findings and they coincide with what I have always maintained: in reporting sexual assaults on children in Bangui to the French authorities, I was just doing my job. The welfare of the children was my priority.

The events of this past year show that the United Nations still does not understand what human rights work is and how it is conducted. Major reforms are needed in this sense.

I wish to thank all those who throughout this year have supported me – friends and family but also all those who witnessed and respected my past work and many others who, without knowing me, expressed their solidarity and provided concrete support. It is indeed this network of solidarity and resistance that, I believe, finally allows human rights work – in spite of all odds – to be conducted.

My thoughts today remain with all the victims of human rights violations who, like the children of the Central African Republic, have a right to expect protection.”

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

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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