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SG/SM/16721-HR/5251

Secretary-General Provides Update on Sexual Abuse Investigation in Central African Republic

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The United Nations, through its Office of Human Rights in Bangui, conducted a human rights investigation in late spring of 2014, following serious allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of children by French military personnel, prior to the establishment of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Central African Republic.

The resulting report was provided to an external party in mid-July 2014 in unedited form, which included the identities of victims, witnesses and investigators.  The unedited version was, by a staff member’s own admission, provided unofficially by that staff member to the French authorities in late July, prior to even providing it to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ (OHCHR) senior management.  This constitutes a serious breach of protocol, which, as is well known to all OHCHR officials, requires redaction of any information that could endanger victims, witnesses and investigators.

There is also an internal investigation into the handling of this matter by OHCHR, including the manner in which the confidential preliminary findings were initially communicated to external actors, and whether the names of victims, witnesses and investigators were conveyed as part of that document.  One staff member has been placed on administrative leave with full pay pending the results of the investigation.  Our preliminary assessment is that such conduct does not constitute whistle‑blowing.

For information media. Not an official record.