March 28, 2017

Sexually abused by aid workers: Part I

What happens when United Nations workers abuse their power?

Humanitarian workers are in Haiti rebuilding, in Greece awaiting Syrian refugees, and in South Sudan amid civil war. They are seen as some of the most selfless people on earth. Sadly, that is not always true. In fact, some aid workers use their missions as an opportunity to prey on those who most need help.
Evidence of such abuse is featured in a new Fault Lines documentary out this month. The film investigates the legacy and impact of sex abuse by United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti. Al Jazeera spoke with a number of women who claimed they were raped by UN soldiers, some who gave birth to their rapist’s baby.
Haiti isn’t an anomaly. There are reports of abuse by UN workers in several other countries, including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Impunity is enjoyed by those who commit these crimes because international laws grant peacekeepers immunity from any criminal liability in the countries they serve.
So what happens to the victims, and how do countries that rely on international aid trust that the people deployed to help them won’t harm them? The Stream answer these questions and more in the first of a two-part discussion.

On this episode of The Stream, we'll speak to:

Peter Gallo @PeterAGallo
Former investigator, United Nations

Megan Nobert @megan_nobert
Founder and Executive Director, Report the Abuse

Catherine Plumridge
Director, Humanitrain

Ezili Dantò @Ezilidanto
Founder, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.