U.N. Finally Forced to Probe Its Pedophilia
Wires and NewsMax.comGENEVA, Switzerland – The United
Nations' massive pedophilia scandal has not received 1 percent
of the media attention given to the Catholic Church's homosexual
priest scandal. Finally some attention is being paid, now that the
U.N.'s cover is blown.
Tuesday, May 7, 2002
As world leaders converge on New York for the controversial
conference on children this week, U.N. investigators and relief
agencies say they are finally trying to stop recurrence of sexual
abuse against West African refugee children by U.N. "peacekeepers"
and aid workers.
The scale of allegations, partly revealed Feb. 26, sent shock
waves through the "international aid community" and led to calls
from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and governments for an urgent
investigation in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
Calls were raised for measures to ensure that refugee children
were protected worldwide from abuse.
About a half-dozen investigators from the U.N. Office of Internal
Oversight Services in New York, plus investigators from the office
of the inspector-general of the U.N. High Commissioner of Refugees,
were still examining the allegations, senior U.N. officials told
United Press International.
The U.N. investigating team also includes a medical doctor, the
same sources said.
It was unclear how long the investigation will last. "We're all
waiting for the results of the inquiry to take action," said an
official from one of the agencies under investigation.
After formal moves by UNHCR last December, a preliminary OIOS
investigation was initiated in January, but it only moved into full
gear in March, said a U.N. official.
Not Much Progress
The U.N.'s investigating arm, however, also came under heavy
criticism by senior Western diplomats for the slow pace of its work
on the ground in the three countries. The limited number of
investigators at the oversight office, less than 20, partly explains
the grinding pace of the inquiry.
"We can barely cope with the cases that are being referred to
us," Dileep Nair, U.N. undersecretary general and chief of OIOS,
In 2001, the burdened OIOS had more than 400 cases referred to it
ranging from petty to serious alleged breaches linked to U.N.
Some officials close to the investigation reckon a final report
could be ready by the end of the month.
Parallel investigations in the field have also been initiated by
many of the nearly 40 non-governmental organizations such as Save
the Children-UK and Doctors Without Borders.
Brendan Paddy, a spokesman for Save the Children-UK, told UPI on
Sunday that the agency has conducted its own investigation and
sacked one staff member in Guinea and stopped two community
volunteers from participating in its aid work.
Similarly, a spokesman for Doctors Without Borders, Rafael
Vilasanjuan, told UPI the group has also been conducting an
investigation into the allegations but so far "we have not found any
"If there is any evidence, we will take all the measures." He
said Doctors Without Borders had "no tolerance" for such behavior.
In the meantime, U.N. agencies and many of the NGOs were busy at
work putting in place new checks and balances in the field to
prevent sexual abuse of refugee children.
Some of the measures have included beefing up staff by more than
35 in areas such as UNHCR emergency, protection and community
services in the three countries, including 12 solely to respond to
Rotation of staff to different camps has also been expanded.
Moreover, the U.N. World Food Program has increased the number of
female monitors and held meetings with all staff and NGOs to
highlight the agency's "zero tolerance" policy over sexual abuse,
said WFP spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume.
Reactionary U.N. Knew of Atrocities
However, the United Nations has not always been that proactive on
A full copy of the joint study sponsored by the UNHCR and SC-UK,
obtained by UPI, notes that during debriefing sessions in all three
"UNHCR staff, government representatives and the agency staff,
including senior managers, acknowledged that they knew such
practices happened. Regrettably, even in situations where such
information had been brought to their attention in the past, no
action had been taken to monitor or redress the situation."
The number of allegations documented "is a critical indicator of
the scale of this problem," it said.
U.N. Workers Among 'Worst Sexual Exploiters of Children'
"Agency workers from the international and local NGOs as well as
U.N. agencies were ranked as among the worst sex exploiters of
children, often using the very humanitarian aid and services
intended to benefit the refugee population as a tool of
The assessment team listed sexual allegations and called for
further investigation against workers from 42 agencies and 67
"The details of these allegations were submitted to UNHCR in
confidential lists as the mission was ongoing," the report said.
The U.N. agencies identified included UNHCR and WFP and the
international "peacekeepers" from nine countries stationed in Sierra
United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) battalions whose
"peacekeepers" are alleged to be involved in sexual exploitation
include those from Britain, Kenya, Ghana, Guinea, India, Nigeria
(Ecomog force before 2000), Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zambia.
In addition, the assessment mission report identified staff from
10 NGOs in Liberia, 10 NGOs in Sierra Leone and 16 NGOs in Guinea
for alleged sexual abuse.
Besides Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children-UK, other
NGOs listed for alleged abuses by their mainly locally employed
staff included, among others:
The Red Cross in Trouble Yet Again
The American Refugee Committee; the International Federation of
the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies/Guinean Red Cross; Lutheran
World Service/World Federation; Norwegian Refuge Council; Council of
Churches, Sierra Leone; Germany's BMZ; and Medical Relief
International (MERLIN); and Family Empowerment Program.
In July 2001, children accounted for about 45 percent of the
world's refugees and others of concern assisted by the U.N. refugee
agency. The percentage of children, the report said, was even higher
in Guinea and Liberia: at 63 percent in Guinea or 426,140; and 50
percent in Liberia, or 33,766.
The full 84-page report, written in January after a six-week
mission to the three countries, has not yet been published.
BBC Exposes the Cover-up
It was only after the British Broadcasting Corp. revealed the
contents of the assessment mission that UNHCR and Save the Children
group revealed some of report's findings and recommendations.
The initial refusal by UNHCR and Save the Children-UK to furnish
to other NGOs, confidentially, the names of the alleged 67
individuals created tensions among the normally close-knit
"humanitarian community." The UNHCR cited legal concerns, fears
about the safety of child victims still living in camps, and the
limitations of anecdotal information, for its stance.
After a number of heated closed-door meetings, however, the NGOs
were furnished with the confidential information they had been
seeking in March.
But humanitarian officials familiar with the brief said many sex
abuse victims are afraid to take part in a formal investigation and
don't come forward for fear of vengeance and recrimination.
The report notes that most "incidents of sexual violence go
unreported," and concludes that the incidence of the problem may be
much higher than the numbers cited in the report suggest.
Indeed, sources close to the investigation said early indications
were that they had difficulties to get firsthand accounts from
Observations in the report highlight the problems victims face.
"In order for a refugee to make a report, they would have to go
through the same persons who themselves are perpetrators of sexual
exploitation. Most staff appear to connive to hide the actions of
Sickening Double Standard
So let's see: Senior U.N. officials knew of the widespread
pedophilia. Not only did they not take action against the
perpetrators, they covered up the atrocities.
And even after the scandal comes to light, most media give this
major news event little or no coverage.
Imagine the screaming headlines and worldwide outrage if the
Catholic Church or any other church allowed sexual abuse of children
on such a massive scale. Could the media establishment's pro-U.N.,
anti-religious bias have anything to do with the stunning
Copyright 2002 by United Press International.
All rights reserved.
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