19 December 2007
General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York




In a major step forward in addressing sexual exploitation and abuse, a working group of the General Assembly today agreed on a strategy to assist victims who may have suffered at the hands of United Nations personnel.

The strategy enables the United Nations to help, in a coordinated and committed manner, victims of sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by United Nations personnel.  Under the strategy, victims would receive assistance to address their needs directly arising from the exploitation or abuse suffered.  Assistance may include medical treatment, counseling, social support, legal services or material care.  In addition, the strategy commits the United Nations to helping children born as a result of sexual exploitation and abuse.

“This is an important day for the victims, whose suffering can be reduced with the UN’s support,” said the Chair of the working group, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations, Jorge Urbina. 

“It is also an important day for the United Nations.  This policy represents a long overdue measure to strengthen our policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse,” added Assistant Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Field Support. 

“The establishment of a comprehensive approach to victim assistance throughout the United Nations system will greatly enhance the efficacy of assistance efforts and therefore make an important difference in the lives of victims,” noted Margareta Wahlstrom, Assistant Secretary-General of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 

The strategy was developed in part as follow-up to the 2005 World Summit, during which United Nations Member States called for a comprehensive approach to victim assistance.  The strategy is one arm of a broader United Nations effort to address sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel that includes prevention, enforcement and remedial action.  The strategy builds on the Secretary-General’s Bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse as well as the Statement of Commitment on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by United Nations and Non-United Nations Personnel.

The adoption of the strategy today was undertaken by an ad hoc open-ended working group of the General Assembly.  The General Assembly is expected to formally adopt the strategy before the current session closes.

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For information media • not an official record