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Child sex abuse by UN workers. (Insider Report).

A shocking report jointly issued on February 26th by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Save The Children detailed evidence of widespread sexual exploitation of children at refugee camps in West Africa. According to the report, aid workers from the UNHCR and a number of different NGOs have been sexually abusing children in camps in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, where refugees have fled to escape civil war. According to Paul Nolan of Save The Children, "what emerged was a problem that was widespread, quite possibly endemic and which also included people who were actually in place to provide those refugee children with the care and protection they were entitled to.... It's a problem we know has been around for some time. Nolan also admitted that the investigation had uncovered a "fairly widespread culture of exploitation" in which "a whole range of people in a position of authority and trust were abusing these positions. All in return for sexual favors." Still more despicably, many aid worke rs apparently coerced sexual favors from children by withholding food and relief-agency services unless the children complied with their twisted demands.

Both UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UNICEF professed outrage at the alleged abuses. Annan's spokesperson reiterated his policy of "zero tolerance for any acts perpetrated by anyone employed by or affiliated with the United Nations." Unfortunately for Annan and UNICEF, allegations of pederasty by UN employees is a familiar scenario. Ia 1987 two Belgian UNICEF employees, Joseph Verbeek (the head of the Belgian UNICEF office) and Michel Felu were arrested and charged with operating a child prostitution ring and an international organization for disseminating child pornography. Yet the UNICEF scandal has been discreetly dropped in the memory hole, allowing UNICEF and the UN to pose as scandalized innocent parties. But the UN has always regarded children as wards of the state first and foremost, an attitude that permutes easily into a rationale for exploitation.
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Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 25, 2002
Words:323
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