Victims' rights top new strategy to combat sexual exploitation by UN personnel

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Nancee Bright, office of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Victims are at the centre of a new UN strategy to combat sexual abuse committed by personnel serving with the global organization.

It was announced in a report by UN Secretary-General António Guterres published on Thursday.

Senior UN officials outlined some of its main points for journalists in New York.

Dianne Penn reports.

Last year, 145 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse were reported across the UN system.

The strategy puts the rights and dignity of victims first.

It calls for the appointment of a victims' rights advocate who will serve in the Secretary-General's office.

Nancee Bright is with the office of the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict:

"So this victims' rights advocate is actually going to be dealing not only with host countries where the crimes actually took place, but also with the countries where the alleged perpetrators are in fact from. That victims' rights advocate will also provide information to the victims because that's been a black hole. Victims have no idea when the case— if there is a case—when the case actually comes up. Victims have no sense of what the progress has been. And that will also change that."

Countries will also be asked to consider how a trust fund for victims can make direct assistance payments to them.

Other measures include enforcement of a whistle-blower policy and protection for UN staff who report cases of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'13"

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