We, UN and non-UN entities, re-affirm our determination to prevent future acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by our personnel.
We note the issuance of this Statement at the High-level Conference on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN and NGO Personnel on 4 December 2006 in New York, USA and welcome future endorsement of this Statement by others.
We recall the six core principles relating to sexual exploitation and abuse adopted by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Working Group in July 20024 . We note that these principles have been incorporated into organization-specific codes of conduct, rules and regulations and are thereby binding on personnel. In particular, they are binding on United Nations staff and related personnel and outlined in the Secretary-General’s Bulletin Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13).
We recall that these standards were promulgated to further protect the most vulnerable populations, especially women, girls and boys, and recognize that in countries where we operate, conditions such as poverty, weak rule of law and displacement and the destruction of community structures due to conflict, increase the vulnerability of communities to sexual exploitation and abuse, including human trafficking, by our personnel and others.
We further recall that creating and maintaining a living and working environment that prevents sexual exploitation and abuse is both an individual and organizational responsibility. We note that the management culture of an organization, the equal representation of women and men at all levels of the organization and the adequacy of the living and working environment all contribute to the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
We underline the importance of preventing sexual exploitation and abuse and stress the need for swift, decisive action when such acts do occur. We note the specific duties of managers and commanders in this regard, outlined for the United Nations in section 4 of the Bulletin.
We recognize that significant progress has been made to-date to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse by our personnel, and note that we are at different stages of implementing the IASC six core principles on sexual exploitation and abuse.
We re-affirm our goal of achieving full implementation of these principles as a matter of urgency and commit to:
Develop organization-specific strategies to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse. These would include time-bound, measurable indicators of progress to enable our organizations and others to monitor our performance.
Incorporate our standards on sexual exploitation and abuse in induction materials and training courses for our personnel.
Prevent perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse from being (re-)hired or (re-)deployed. This could include use of background and criminal reference checks.
Ensure that complaint mechanisms for reporting sexual exploitation and abuse are accessible and that focal points for receiving complaints understand how to discharge their duties.
Take appropriate action to the best of our abilities to protect persons from retaliation where allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are reported involving our personnel.
Investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in a timely and professional manner. This includes the use of appropriate interviewing practice with complainants and witnesses, particularly with children.
Take swift and appropriate action against our personnel who commit sexual exploitation and abuse. This may include administrative or disciplinary action, and/or referral to the relevant authorities for appropriate action, including criminal prosecution.
Provide basic emergency assistance to complainants of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Regularly inform our personnel and communities on measures taken to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse. Such information should be developed and disseminated in-country in cooperation with other relevant agencies and should include details on complaints mechanisms, the status and outcome of investigations in general terms, feedback on actions taken against perpetrators and follow-up measures taken as well as assistance available to complainants and victims.
Engage the support of communities and governments to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse by our personnel.