UN official who exposed child sex abuse by peacekeepers resigns over 'entrenched lack of accountability'

Anders Kompass says officials 'abused their authority' in failing to investigate rape claims in Africa

Gabriel Samuels
Wednesday 08 June 2016 15:38 BST
Kompass has criticised the way he was treated by UN officials over his suspension
Kompass has criticised the way he was treated by UN officials over his suspension

A United Nations whistleblower who exposed the systematic sexual abuse of children by peacekeeping troops in Africa has resigned in protest at the “entrenched lack of accountability” within the organisation.

Anders Kompass, field operations director at the High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva, said he decided to leave after seeing the continuous failure of the UN to scrutinise the actions of senior officials.

The 60-year-old was suspended and faced dismissal last year before being exonerated in January, for leaking confidential documents detailing the abuse of children by French troops in Central African Republic (CAR).

He claimed he was driven to become a whistleblower through frustration after the UN failed to tackle abuse which is thought to have been widespread.

Mr Kompass told IRIN News: “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.

“This makes it impossible for me to continue working here. It was a very hard decision for me to take, after a total of 21 years of service with the United Nations, but one that I feel was unavoidable.”

Among the alleged abuses revealed by Mr Kompass was the claim that children as young as eight in the M’Poko refugee camp were being coerced into sex by soldiers in return for food or money.

In August 2015, UN troops were accused of raping a 12-year-old girl and killing a 16-year-old boy during a routine mission in CAR.

Mr Kompass’ departure may have been influenced by the announcement that Susana Malcorra, who was heavily involved in his controversial suspension in April last year, plans to stand for the role of UN secretary general later this year.

The former Swedish diplomat was charged with misconduct, marched out of his office and faced an uncertain future during a nine-month disciplinary process.

The report which later exonerated Mr Kompass highlighted the “gross institutional failure” of the UN to deal with the serious allegations of sexual abuse and accused UN officials of “abusing their authority”.

Mr Kompass will resign from his post on August 31, a year before the end of his contract, and has reportedly already accepted a job at the Swedish foreign ministry.

In February the UN peacekeeping mission for Central African Republic said it had identified seven new cases of sexual abuse by its troops including women and girls.

The new cases, which involved at least five children, came on top of over 20 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers in the country last year

The Independent has contacted the office of Mr Kompass for comment.

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