More than 90 United Nations Member States have signed or intend to sign the voluntary compact on preventing and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse, answering the call of Secretary-General António Guterres to address the scourge.
“This represents an unprecedented demonstration of solidarity and a firm commitment to addressing the issue comprehensively and effectively, ensuring full implementation of the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy,” said UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric at the daily press briefing in New York.
The Secretary-General introduced the compact at a meeting on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse held last week in the margins of the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level period. The meeting charted an ambitious strategy aimed at comprehensively addressing sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel.
At the meeting, the Secretary-General reaffirmed to Member States that the UN would “not tolerate anyone committing or condoning sexual exploitation and abuse” and would “not let anyone cover up these crimes with the UN flag.”
To date, 72 Member States have signed the compact, with 19 more having formally indicated that they will do so soon.
Through the compact, the Secretary-General and Member States reaffirm their mutual belief that sexual exploitation and abuse runs counter to their shared values and erodes the trust of those the UN serves.
The compact also sets out specific commitments for the Secretary-General and Member States to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, to hold individuals accountable and to respect the dignity of those who have been victimized by providing them with meaningful support.
The document remains open for signature and the Secretariat encourages all Member States that have not signed to add their voice to this important initiative.