02:40 GMT +313 November 2019
Listen Live
    Volonteers of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agency and La Vie Active association help unaccompanied migrant minors, from the demolished Jungle migrant camp in Calais, to board a bus to travel to reception centres around France on November 2, 2016 in Calais, northern France

    UN Knew About Sexual Misconduct by Top Charities Since 2002 - Reports

    © AFP 2019 / PHILIPPE HUGUEN
    World
    Get short URL
    302
    Subscribe

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was informed back in 2002 that workers from over 40 aid organizations could have been implicated in sexually exploitative relations with refugee children, yet did not take effective action, The Times reported on Tuesday, citing an unpublished UN report.

    According to the newspaper, the 84-page document was compiled by research teams working in refugee camps in West Africa for the UNHCR and Save the Children between 2001 and 2002.

    The report mainly included small local charities, however 15 international organizations, such as the UNHCR itself, the World Food Programme (WFP), Save the Children, Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders), Care International, the International Rescue Committee, the International Federation of Red Cross Societies and the Norwegian Refugee Council, were also listed in the document.

    "[Aid workers were] among the prime sexual exploiters of refugee children, often using the very humanitarian assistance and services intended to benefit refugees as a tool of exploitation," the newspaper said, citing the report.

    The document stressed that the allegations could not be fully verified and required further investigation, noting, however, that their number indicated a critical scale of the problem.

    As the newspaper specified, details relating to claims against 67 people were submitted to UNHCR officials, and fewer than ten were dismissed as a result — none were prosecuted.

    The UNHCR wrote to all the NGOs and agencies which were mentioned in the report and notified them of the allegations. The United Nations also dispatched its investigators, and initiated "specific preventive and remedial actions."

    According to the newspaper, the report was undermined by Ruud Lubbers, the then UN high commissioner for refugees, who said in an interview with CNN back in 2002 that the allegations lacked evidence and were "not a reality."

    READ MORE: Not Lovin' It: McDonald's Sued by US Employees Over Workplace Sexual Harassment

    Recently, another prominent charity became the center of a scandal when it was revealed in February that members of Oxfam, who were engaged in dealing with the consequences of the major earthquake in Haiti in 2010, were involved in sexual misconduct, bullying and intimidation against local residents. Moreover, it was revealed that the charity had conducted its investigation into the situation back in 2011 but never disclosed its results.

    The scandal prompted several Oxfam employees, including Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence, to resign.

    READ MORE: Journalist Says Turning a Blind Eye to Sexual Abuse Needs to Stop

    Tags:
    sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Save the Children, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), West Africa
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik