Zero tolerance for sexual explotation and abuse

Addressing sexual exploitation and abuse is a top priority of the Secretary-General and the entire leadership of the United Nations. An effective response encompasses all the actions taken following a report of possible misconduct, from receiving a complaint to ensuring that appropriate disciplinary action is taken against perpetrators. These actions aim to ensure that there is accountability for violations of United Nations Standards of Conduct.

The UN is working to improve the speed, accuracy and comprehensiveness in reporting serious allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse; the pace and quality of investigations; and follow-up and accountability. Urgent action upon receipt of a report of sexual exploitation and abuse creates the best conditions for investigations.

When allegations of misconduct by UN civilian personnel have been investigated and the allegations are substantiated, the perpetrators are held accountable and face sanctions that correspond to the seriousness of the offense. This can range from a reprimand to dismissal. If the acts may amount to criminal conduct, the UN can refer the matter for criminal prosecution by the staff member’s state of nationality.

When allegations of serious misconduct involving military and police personnel in UN peace operations are substantiated, the United Nations may repatriate the individuals concerned on disciplinary grounds and ban them from future participation in peacekeeping operations. Disciplinary sanctions and any other judicial actions, which may include criminal accountability or civil accountability related to child support, remain the responsibility of the national jurisdiction of the individual involved.