World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UN Report on Sexual Abuse, Fuel Theft at Missions


New York, Oct 18 2005 5:00PM

A sharp increase in reported cases of sexual exploitation by peacekeeping and other personnel, systemic corruption by publicly-owned enterprises in United Nations-administered Kosovo, and fuel theft at various peacekeeping missions are among issues addressed by the world body's internal watchdog office in its latest report.

"The Office is entrusted with critical responsibilities in enhancing the effectiveness of United Nations programmes through the continuous improvement of internal control mechanisms in the Organization," the head the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), Inga-Britt Ahlenius, said in a preface to the report to the General Assembly. She presented it to the Assembly's Administrative and Budgetary (Fifth) Committee and briefed correspondents on the main findings today.

The increase in the number of reports of sexual exploitation and abuse at peacekeeping missions and duty stations has led to new procedures and additional resources to conduct investigations, detect cases, and train personnel.

"Owing to the above-mentioned sharp increase in reported cases of serious misconduct, in particular cases of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping personnel, it is evident that the discipline of peacekeeping and other personnel has become one of the main issues that the Organization needs to address," the report says.

A survey at 19 peacekeeping operations shows that although in general staff have a positive perception of discipline at individual missions, a significant number believes misconduct is occurring – but going undetected and unpunished.

"Auditors noted that training was insufficient and that, except for sexual abuse cases, complaints were not properly recorded or filed. There were also no clear procedures in missions for personnel to make complaints and, in many instances, inadequate systems to follow up on complaints," the report says.

With regard to Kosovo, OIOS has provided staff and resources to the ongoing work of the Investigations Task Force at the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) that is focusing on systemic corruption in the publicly-owned enterprises.

Investigators have spent approximately 18 months looking into the most significant charges of corruption concerning Pristina airport and have highlighted several criminal referrals and numerous reports on administrative violations. The Investigations Task Force is currently undertaking investigations into the energy sector, principally involving the Kosovo energy company, Korporata Energjetike e Kosovës.

In a case involving an unnamed mission, OIOS investigated and reported on a serious case of discrimination and abuse of authority by a manager, which highlighted problems facing local employees in peacekeeping missions, including being forced to pay "kickbacks" for securing employment.

The report says thefts of large amounts of fuel at peacekeeping missions by staff in collusion with local nationals have been identified, including the recent involvement of troop contingents in such theft along with breakdowns in the application of control systems. As a result of the investigations into this problem, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations has now sought the support of OIOS.

Calling procurement "one of the most significant risks to the Organization in terms of the potential for inefficiency, uneconomical contracting, fraud, corruption and abuse," the report says investigations continued to deal with allegations of corrupt behaviour by UN staff.

OIOS issued recommendations relating to: accountability for theft of UN property; collusion between UN staff and vendors, especially relating to the favouritism shown to certain vendors; misuse of UN equipment; and waste.

With regard to last December's Indian Ocean tsunami relief effort, coordinated by the UN, OIOS has recommended improved coordination and administration relating to finance, human resources, property, security and information management.

In April, OIOS investigators issued a report to the Secretary-General describing the risks and opportunities for corruption and waste associated with weak coordination, rushed procurement and recruitment decisions and the magnitude of the funding.

Meanwhile, as part of a continuing effort to increase accountability of UN staff and ascertain potential conflict of interest, new rules were published today calling for financial disclosure forms to be completed by any one at the Director level and above.

The rules clarify that sexual abuse and sexual exploitation constitute serious misconduct. The current rules specify that the Secretary-General may summarily dismiss any staff member found to have committed serious misconduct, but does not specifically mention sexual exploitation or abuse. The changes need to be considered and approved by the General Assembly so that they can come into force on January 1.

2005-10-18 00:00:00.000


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news