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Statement on the Report of the Independent Panel of Allegations of Sexual Abuse in the Central African Republic

Source: U.S. Department of State
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Ambassador Samantha Power

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

New York City

December 17, 2015

The world has been justifiably sickened and outraged by the allegations of grave abuses of children in the Central African Republic by international soldiers, and we welcome the submission of the report of the Independent Panel. The United States strongly encouraged the establishment of the Panel, we appreciate its rigorous work, and we are studying its findings and recommendations closely.

The facts documented by the Panel paint a troubling picture of a woefully inadequate response by the UN to credible allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse. We are horrified by the Panel's findings of inaction around these crimes. It is chilling to read the Panel's detailing of poor judgment and “gross institutional failure,” including by the very parts of the UN entrusted with defending human rights and protecting children. These actions — and decisions not to act — undermine the UN's legitimacy and betray its most sacred principles. Also alarming is the Panel's finding of several cases of abuse of authority.

We are troubled by the Panel's conclusion that the independence of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) — whose impartiality is critically important to ensuring a culture of accountability and transparency at the UN — was compromised. We encourage the new head of OIOS to institute structural changes to address the systematic failures documented in the report.

This report is extremely tough to read — not just for people who expect more of the UN, but for anyone who cares about protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities: children. Commissioning, producing, and releasing this report are important steps. Now the world is looking to the UN to take urgent and comprehensive steps to make sure this never happens again. All UN Member States must throw their weight behind significant reforms at the UN to ensure that the grave abuses alleged are swiftly and effectively investigated and prosecuted, and that those found responsible are held accountable.