Incoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the set up of a task force on Friday (January 6), that will have the goal of proposing strategies seeking to provide the United Nations with urgent methods to prevent and fight sexual abuse.
The announcement follows a request from Guterres to Jane Holl Lute, the Special Co-ordinator for improving the organization’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse, according to the UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
“The Secretary-General, in consultation with members of the Executive Committee, has asked Ms. Jane Holl Lute, the special coordinator for improving the organisation’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse, to convene a high-level task force to develop as a matter of urgency, a clear, game-changing strategy to achieve visible and measurable further improvement in the organisation’s approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse,” said United nations spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.
The United Nations (UN) was criticized last year for its slow and insufficient response to allegations of sexual abuse committed by blue helmets in the Central African Republic.
Last month, an independent review panel accused the UN and its agencies of grossly mishandling allegations of child sexual abuse in 2013 and 2014 by international peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.
In its report, the panel also criticized how the UN and its agencies dealt with alleged abuse charges in CAR, calling it “seriously flawed” and a “gross institutional failure.”
“The Task Force will use the upcoming Report of the Secretary-General on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation to present the elements of the strategy and the chair is, therefore, charged to consult widely and appropriately with all stakeholders among member states, across the UN system, and with other relevant organizations,” added Dujarric.
The UN has also said to be finalising the establishment of a trust fund that will provide victims of sexual exploitation in affected countries, many of whom are children, with medical, psychosocial and legal services.
The task fore is expected to propose new measures by February.