UN whistleblower Anders Kompass, who exposed the sexual abuse of children by French and African peacekeepers in Central African Republic, is to resign in protest over what he sees as the organisation’s failure to hold its senior officials to account.
“The complete impunity for those who have been found to have, in various degrees, abused their authority, together with the unwillingness of the hierarchy to express any regrets for the way they acted towards me sadly confirms that lack of accountability is entrenched in the United Nations,” Kompass told IRIN. “This makes it impossible for me to continue working there.”
Kompass, field operations director at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, passed a confidential internal report on the abuse of children by French troops in CAR to the French authorities in 2014 after the UN failed to raise the alarm and stop the exploitation. The alleged abuse involved hungry children – as young as eight – in the M’Poko camp for displaced people, coerced into sex in return for food or a little money.
Instead of investigating those allegedly responsible for what proved to be an even wider crime – including the involvement of its peacekeepers – the UN’s Office for Internal Oversight Services launched an internal investigation into Kompass’ conduct. Accusing the former Swedish diplomat of leaking, it condemned his “misconduct”, suspended him from his job, humiliatingly marched him out of his office, and demanded his resignation.
An independent panel later found senior UN managers to have “abused their authority” in the handling of the scandal.
Paula Donovan of Code Blue, a campaign to end sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers, says the UN’s attitude left Kompass no alternative but to quit.