UNHCR: Policing or protecting?

"UNHCR: Policing or protecting?" Continued...

Issue: "Clergy Sexual Abuse," March 30, 2002

Both the UN and Save the Children admit their own workers were implicated. Mr. Janowski said UN workers linked to sexual abuse "will be summarily dismissed without benefits." Save the Children has already dismissed one employee and two volunteers over the charges. Only one other organization, Doctors Without Borders (known by its French acronym MSF, or Medicins sans Frontiers), has publicly acknowledged involvement in the scandal. A statement on its website admits it was named in the investigation but has not received "detailed information that would enable us to take measures towards employees who might have been involved in such practices and protect those who may have been victims of sexual abuse."

For the groups that have not come forward on their own, confidentiality may protect the reputation of those with otherwise good track records. International aid agencies rely on their good name in order to raise funds. Sensationalized behavior of even one or two workers could cost them that support. But internal policing can be just another way of burying the scandal. Publicizing the initial findings "is a step in the right direction," according to Mr. Frushone. "Should they start naming names? That would be a good step if they plan to do something about it. To study the problem is not going to stop sex predators."


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