UNITED NATIONS (UN)
In 2002, humanitarian personnel in West Africa were accused of sexually exploiting refugee children, primarily girls. Sixty-seven aid workers from more than 40 agencies were accused of offering children money, food, and promises of education in exchange for sex. While many of the allegations were anecdotal it was clear that there was a problem which had to be addressed. The wide publicity given to these allegations led humanitarian organizations to implement strict standards of conduct for their employees and volunteers. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a 2003 bulletin entitled Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13) for all UN personnel. The bulletin characterizes sexual exploitation and abuse as acts of serious misconduct and subject to disciplinary action.
Unfortunately, similar reports came to light. In 2004 some 150 additional allegations of sexual misconduct were made against UN military and civilian peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As a result, Secretary-General Annan designated Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, Jordanian Ambassador to the UN, to be his Special Advisor on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Peacekeeping Personnel. Prince Zeid and his team traveled to the DRC in October 2004, and reported that there was "zero compliance with zero tolerance" in response to the 2003 policy against sexual exploitation. Congo's Minister of Defense, Major General Jean Pierre Ondekane, was quoted in a December 23, 2004 article in The Times (UK) as saying that "peacekeepers" in Kisangani would be remembered for "running after little girls."
Prince Zeid's final report, released in March 2005, contained extensive recommendations for top-down reform of the UN system to address problems of sexual misconduct by UN peacekeepers. The 2005 UN General Assembly endorsed and broadened Prince Zeid's recommendations, making them applicable to civilian as well as to military peacekeeping personnel. In addition to the steps being taken to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable populations by UN peacekeepers, UN agencies system-wide have developed or are developing standards of conduct for their personnel. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in humanitarian programs are taking similar steps.
Below is the status of key UN reforms that have been completed or are on-going, and those that have not been finalized.
STATUS OF REFORM
The CDTs are charged with informing local communities of the UN's zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and procedures for reporting abuse, receiving complaints, carrying out initial assessments of allegations, and determining whether specific allegations should be reported to the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) as Category I (serious offenses) warranting full OIOS investigations. Category II (less serious) allegations are handled by the peacekeeping mission itself.
Reform not finalized
Discipline and Accountability:
According to the UN Secretary-General's report on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (A/60/861) released in May 2006, seven UN agencies received 373 new sexual exploitation and abuse allegations during 2005, of which 340 involved UN peacekeeping personnel. This report notes that the annual total was considerably higher than the 121 allegations reported for 2004. The former Secretary-General attributed the dramatic increase, in part, to greater awareness and use of the UN's reporting mechanism. In 2006 there were 357 allegations reported, but declined each month. In January 2006 there were 97 allegations and by December 2006 there were 12 allegations. This change may be due in part to introduction of Conduct and Discipline Teams to all missions in early 2006.
Discipline and accountability of accused members of national military and civilian contingents ultimately rests with the TCCs. France, India, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Uruguay have taken some form of disciplinary or criminal action against a total of 29 repatriated military and civilian personnel. However, there are many other repatriated personnel from these and other countries who have faced no further penalties for their abuse of power in cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. The UN is working with TCCs to ensure that staff and volunteers, and approximately 90,000 military and civilian peacekeepers serving in the UN's 18 missions do not add to the suffering of women and children in conflict or humanitarian crises. TCCs must take action to ensure 100 percent compliance with the UN's zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.
For further information on the UN's sexual exploitation and abuse prevention measures please go to http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko.
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO)
NATO is proactively undertaking measures to prevent military or civilian personnel assigned to NATO-led missions from engaging in human trafficking or sexual exploitation and abuse. There are no known allegations of sexual misconduct against NATO officials or staff. NATO currently has seven on-going missions with tens of thousands of soldiers, and undertakes numerous other activities throughout the year. In June 2004, NATO Allies and Partners adopted a Policy on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. Among its provisions, NATO Allies and Partners committed to provide appropriate anti-human trafficking training to personnel taking part in NATO-led missions, support host-country law enforcement in anti-trafficking investigations, incorporate contractual provisions prohibiting contractors from engaging in trafficking, and evaluate implementation of efforts as part of on-going reviews. Anti-human trafficking directives are incorporated in all NATO operational plans. NATO employs three anti-human trafficking awareness training modules for troops, commanders, and military police. These modules are available online to personnel and are also offered at NATO's two training facilities. NATO Allies and Partners committed to provide anti-trafficking training for personnel and international staff prior to deployment. Officials and staff are subject to disciplinary action including dismissal. NATO Allies and Partners are responsible for taking any legal action against nationals participating in NATO missions. Personnel taking part in NATO missions are instructed to refer victims to local NGOs in order to receive legal or social services, and to work cooperatively with local law enforcement officials if they encounter a human trafficking situation.
Since the release of the 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report, staff from NATO Allies and Partner nations have spent several months reviewing practical aspects of the implementation of NATO's anti-human trafficking policy to identify areas for improvement. A report with recommendations was submitted to senior-level NATO representatives in November 2006. NATO has appointed its Assistant Secretary-General for Defense Policy and Planning as Senior Coordinator on Counter-Trafficking in Human Beings to oversee its anti-human trafficking implementation efforts.
For further information on NATO's anti-human trafficking prevention measures please go to http://www.nato.int/issues/trafficking/.
ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is proactively undertaking measures to prevent personnel from engaging in human trafficking or sexual exploitation. There are no known allegations of sexual misconduct against OSCE officials or staff. The OSCE has 19 field missions and approximately 3,450 personnel, including contractors, seconded staff, and international and locally-based employees. The OSCE Secretary-General is responsible for overseeing OSCE's efforts to prevent misconduct by personnel. The OSCE's Code of Conduct For Staff and Mission Members (Appendix 1 to Permanent Council 550/Corr.1, 27 June 2003) addresses general conduct of officials and staff while on mission, and "Staff Instruction 11" specifically focuses on preventing trafficking in persons. Both documents are incorporated into OSCE training modules provided during orientation training for all OSCE personnel, including for locally-hired staff at missions. Officials and staff are subject to disciplinary action including dismissal. However, OSCE member states and partners are ultimately responsible for taking any legal action against nationals participating in OSCE missions who violate the policy. Personnel at field missions are instructed to refer alleged victims to local NGOs for legal or social services and to work cooperatively with local law enforcement officials if they encounter a human trafficking situation.
Since the release of the 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report, the 2006 OSCE Ministerial Council issued a decision on Combating Sexual Exploitation of Children (MC/DEC/15/06). Among the various provisions, the Ministerial Council tasked the OSCE executive structures to ensure the issue of child sexual exploitation is incorporated in code of conduct trainings and awareness-raising materials targeted at OSCE Officials.
For further information on the OSCE's anti-trafficking prevention measures please go to http://www.osce.org/activities/13029.html.