Thursday 25 April 2019
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World: Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse Report of the Secretary-General (A/73/744)

Source: UN General Assembly Country: World
Introduction Combating sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by personnel serving under the United Nations flag, whether in peacekeeping or special political missions, other United Nations entities or non-United Nations international forces authorized by a Security Council mandate, is a priority collective effort for the United Nations. The present report contains updates to the information provided in my previous report (A/72/751 and A/72/751/Corr.1), including on prioritizing the rights and dignity of victims, ending impunity, engaging with Member States, civil society and external partners and improving strategic communication for education and transparency. My strategy, which builds on the policy of zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse, is driving a cultural transformation across our complex system comprised of more than 90,000 staff members, in more than 30 entities, and more than 100,000 uniformed personnel. Combating and reporting sexual exploitation and abuse are now seen as the personal responsibility of all and are acknowledged to be rooted in unequal power relations, abuse of power and gender bias, factors which also underlie sexual harassment. Collaboration and coordination among United Nations entities has been strengthened, reflecting an increased understanding that those concerns are shared system-wide. Partnership with the humanitarian sector has been enhanced through engagement with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, the interagency mechanism for the coordination of humanitarian assistance, bringing together United Nations and non-United Nations humanitarian partners. The victim-centred approach is increasingly being mainstreamed, in part through new tools to mitigate risks and prevent the recruitment of those with a history of sexual exploitation or abuse. In addition, the guidance and rules for United Nations personnel, as set out in the Secretary-General’s bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13), are currently being updated. I welcome the strengthening of partnerships with Member States through the voluntary compact on preventing and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse and the circle of leadership on the prevention of and response to sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations operations, given that it is our shared responsibility to protect and assist victims and whistle-blowers, and to take appropriate action against perpetrators. Engagement with civil society and external experts has increased, and the Civil Society Advisory Board will be launched in 2019 with a mandate to propose additional ways to further strengthen our efforts. Nonetheless, allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse continue to be reported. They implicate a range of alleged perpetrators, including United Nations and non-United Nations personnel, such as staff members of non-governmental organizations that implement our programmes on the ground. This behaviour harms those we serve, undermines the United Nations values and principles and tarnishes the reputation of the women and men who work with integrity and dedication to realize the objectives of the Organization. I appreciate the advances made, in partnership with Member States and others, however, I am not complacent, and I recognize that more needs to be done.


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