Investigator charges UN soldiers raped and abused 60,000 women and children over 10 years
VIDEO: [Institute of World Politics] Former detective for United Nations Peter Gallo holds press conference detailing his charges that UN personnel have raped or abused an average of 16 different women every day over the last 10 years for a total of over 60,000 victims.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres tweeted in February that the “UN will not claim immunity,” in such cases, but Gallo remains skeptical. The attorney says that the UN system of recourse is fouled by a culture of denial and a filtering system that prevents most cases from going forward. Gallo co-founded Hear Their Cries, a legal assistance organization that helps whistleblowers access justice.
In one case a whistleblower had lodged a complaint when a Chinese human rights defender was detained in China and died from injuries. Her government jailed her after UN staff gave them her name and the names of other Chinese human rights protesters who were seeking visas for a UN conference. The whistleblower said UN staff retaliated, resulting in the loss of employment. The threat of losing a UN job is a major barrier to reporting abuse since the salaries can be eight times more than a local salary. Gallo says that the UN should offer employees permanent contracts to limit such a threat.
Along with retaliation, the UN bureaucracy falls back on a 1946 agreement giving them immunity for violations of the law during official duties. But Gallo says rape of a 12-year-old girl, one of his clients, is never in the line of duty. He says the immunity clause must be reexamined, and that cases should be referred to local authorities not UN bureaucrats. As it stands a UN office, the Conduct and Discipline Unit, filters which complaints, including rape and other serious crimes, go forward to the Office of Internal Oversight Services.
No criminal proceedings can begin while the office investigates, which can be two or three years. By then a rape case becomes extremely difficult to prosecute. Even if a case is decided in favor of the whistleblower, seventy percent of them are overturned on appeal by the UN, while only seven percent of whistleblower appeals end in their favor.
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