'Internal justice system works': UN clears whistleblower who exposed sexual abuse by peacekeepers - Firstpost
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'Internal justice system works': UN clears whistleblower who exposed sexual abuse by peacekeepers


The United Nations' internal justice system has cleared a whistleblower who leaked information to French authorities in 2014. The information was related to a UN investigation into accusations that French soldiers in Central African Republic had sexually abused some children they were sent to protect.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Monday that the Office of Internal Oversight Services had written to Anders Kompass "and they've confirmed that the cases against him are now closed."

“I feel relief and some sadness. It is still a mystery why most of the UN leadership decided to do this to me when they knew very well how badly the UN was handling these types of cases and they knew there was a big gap in terms of under reporting of these kind of cases," Kompass said in an interview with the Guardian.

Anders Kompass. AFP

Anders Kompass. AFP

He added how important the fact was for him that others, especially the younger staff, saw that he was vindicated,  "otherwise the message was: ‘If you try to do something similar to what Anders has done these will be the consequences’.”

UN officials had accused Kompass, a Swede who was the operations director for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, of breaching policy by not redacting the children's names.

He was suspended in April 2015 and reinstated a month later by the UN Dispute Tribunal, but he still faced an internal investigation.

Last month, Kompass was exonerated by an independent panel appointed to review the UN's handling of allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic.

The panel, led by Canadian judge Marie Deschamps, said the United Nations' "gross institutional failure" to act on allegations that French and other peacekeepers sexually abused children in Central African Republic led to even more assaults.

It dismissed the argument that Kompass had breached UN policy, finding instead that the former head of the UN internal watchdog, Carmen La Pointe, abused her authority in improperly opening an investigation of Kompass in response to the "single-minded determination" of the UN human rights chief, Zeid Raad al-Hussein.

If the concerns about redacting the names and protecting the children from possible reprisals were real, the panel said, the UN would have acted to offer protection. "Instead, no one took any steps whatsoever to locate the children," it said.

Haq, the UN spokesman, told reporters when asked about Kompass' exoneration and whistleblowers, that "we continue to see what we can learn from this and how we can do better."

"The secretary-general believes that all staff should be encouraged to come forward," he said. The fact that Kompass was cleared by the internal justice system "is a sign that we hope staff take to heart, that the internal justice system does, in fact, work."

France is still investigating the allegations against its soldiers.

New allegations of alleged sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers in the impoverished and violence-torn Central African Republic continue to surface, the latest earlier this month involving four underage girls which the UN is investigating.

With inputs from AP

First Published On : Jan 19, 2016 12:53 IST

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