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FranceWebSharing, "Ethical standards within the UN will not improve until those responsible... are personally made to suffer for their actions."Des Casques bleus congolais vont partir en raison d'allégations d'exploitation et d'abus sexuels

EXCLUSIVE: The ethical failure Why I resigned from the UN

Anders Kompass on the UN’s failure to uphold its principles

Anders Kompass

There is no hierarchy in the horror and brutality I witnessed during those two decades – massacres, torture, killings, the displacement of populations – but an eight-year-old boy describing in detail his sexual abuse by the peacekeepers meant to protect him is the kind of account I wish I’d never had to read.

I’d also seen a lot of the UN’s dysfunction over the years, but I wasn’t prepared for how the organisation would deal with these events, with the ensuing scandal – and with me. 

Cholera in Haiti, corruption in Kosovo, murder in Rwanda, cover-up of war crimes in Darfur: on too many occasions the UN is failing to uphold the principles and standards set out in its Charter, rules and regulations. Sadly, we seem to be witnessing more and more UN staff less concerned with abiding by the ethical standards of the international civil service than with doing whatever is most convenient – or least likely to cause problems – for themselves or for member states.


Principally, because the cost to the individual of behaving ethically is perceived as too great. Put another way, the benefit to the individual of not behaving ethically is perceived as greater than the cost of taking an ethical stance.

See: Top UN whistleblower resigns, citing impunity and lack of accountability

Fear and a feeling of worthlessness

Staff are afraid. This fear is based on widespread experience. Many staff members have been the victims of retaliation or have witnessed retaliation against those who have taken unpopular ethical stances (including reporting on internal unethical conducts), in the form of sidelining, harassment, sudden transfers, poor evaluations, and non-renewal of contracts. They are convinced that the system does not protect them.

Centrafrique: Des Casques bleus congolais vont partir en raison d'allégations d'exploitation et d'abus sexuels

Afrique: La population mondiale devrait atteindre 9,8 milliards en 2050 et 11,2 milliards en 2100, selon l'ONU

Afrique: La pauvreté mondiale pourrait être réduite de moitié si tous les adultes achevaient leurs études secondaires, selon l'UNESCO


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