The United Nations is once again in the global spotlight for the most heinous crimes imaginable — the massive, systematic rape of innocent children perpetrated by child rapists working for the UN and various “aid” agencies. In a new report released this week, the U.K. Parliament’s committee overseeing foreign aid found that the rape and sexual abuse of children by UN officials and “aid” workers was “endemic,” and that UN officials have done essentially nothing despite knowing all about it. The investigators suspect that the number of known cases is merely the “tip of the iceberg.”
Former UN officials and campaigners working to end the widespread rape of children have called for everything from criminal accountability and reform of the “immunity” system to a more in-depth study of the problem so policymakers can understand the enormous scope of it. Calls to reform the UN’s whistleblower protections are also getting louder. But as far as the UN and its largely tax-funded “aid” affiliates are concerned, they appear to be more concerned with keeping it all quiet and ensuring that their reputations are not sullied than in actually doing something to stop the horrific and ongoing abuse of women and children.
The damning new report, published by the U.K. House of Commons International Development Committee, explores the nasty but largely hidden world of pedophiles and child rapists working within the UN and various international “aid” agencies associated with it. Noting that the rape of children by UN “peacekeepers” and aid workers goes back decades, the British inquiry found that in places such as Syria, rape of women and children by international officials is now “an entrenched feature” of life. And while estimates say well over 60,000 women and children have been raped by UN officials in the last decade, the truth is that nobody really knows how massive the problem is.
It seems like the UN and the “aid” agencies responsible like it that way, the report suggests. In fact, the UN has done little to even understand the scope of the problem — much less tackle it. “Due to confirmed under-reporting, the exact scale is currently impossible to define, but practitioners suspect that those cases which have come to light are only the ‘tip of the iceberg’,” the report’s summary explains. “The lack of information must not be a cause for inaction.” In some communities occupied by UN “peace” troops where surveys have been conducted, as many as four out of five underage girls admitted to being raped by their supposed “protectors.”
One of the few predatory UN officials to be held accountable was Didier Bourguet, who was earning some $7,000 per month at a UN “peace” mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo while helping himself to local children. In fact, he raped so many children that he has trouble remembering the numbers. “I would say about 20, maybe 25,” he said, cavalierly, as if he was talking about how many pieces of candy he ate. “I didn’t count.” Bourguet has the rare distinction of being one of just a handful of UN child rapists to face any sort of accountability whatsoever. The overwhelming majority — almost all, in fact — face no consequences at all, regardless of how grotesque and well-documented their crimes.
Even as the UN claims it has “mechanisms” in place, the reality is that, as the U.K. report acknowledges, what is known so far is just the “tip of the iceberg.” Separately from the House of Commons inquiry, PBS FRONTLINE producer Ramita Navai went down to Africa to investigate what was going on. Shockingly, “after only a few days of arriving in both the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, we found so many women and children who say they were sexually abused or exploited by UN peacekeepers,” she said. “It shocked us. Crucially, they hadn’t reported this abuse to the UN, which says to me that UN numbers nowhere near reflect how big the actual problem is.”
One leading organization working on this issue is the Switzerland-based “Hear Their Cries,” a group of prominent attorneys and former UN officials trying to end the rape epidemic in the UN. Based on UN data and estimates on the number of rapes reported versus the actual number of rapes, the group estimated that around 60,000 women and children have been raped by UN officials just in the last decade. “The United Nations is by far the biggest harborer of pedophiles in the world,” said a former UN official with the group. “They prey on children with alarming regularity during their many years of UN employment throughout the world.” Today, Hear Their Cries acknowledges that the 60,000 estimate “appears now to be well under-estimating the scale of the problem.”
According to the U.K. report, headlined “Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector inquiry,” the UN and the agencies involved have known about the widespread sexual exploitation and abuse for years. “Repeatedly, reports of sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers and/or peacekeepers have emerged, the sector has reacted, but then the focus has faded,” the report’s authors explained. And indeed, as this magazine has documented for years, aside from slick PR programs and sham “investigations” that never hold anyone accountable, the UN has done virtually nothing to rein in the child rapists wearing its infamous “blue helmets.” Just 53 child-raping UN officials have been jailed so far, with many thousands more hiding behind immunity.
Ironically, as this magazine has also documented, whistleblowers who expose the child rapists have been at much greater risk of facing adverse consequences than the perpetrators they expose. The U.K. Parliament’s committee report uncovered the same phenomenon. “There seems to be a common thread in this apparent inability of the aid sector to deal well with allegations, complaints and cases involving sexual abuse,” the investigators and lawmakers found. “There seems to be a strong tendency for victims and whistleblowers, rather than perpetrators, to end up feeling penalised.”
Perhaps the most high-profile case involved UN human rights official Anders Kompass, who found out “peace” troops in Africa on a UN mission were brutally raping children as young as eight years old. Because nobody in the UN was doing anything about it other than trying to keep the lid on it, Kompass passed the information to French prosecutors. But instead of giving the whistleblower a medal, the highest echelons of UN leadership conspired to destroy him. He was escorted from his office by armed guards, investigated, and fired. Eventually, Kompass spoke out publicly, saying he did not believe ethics could ever return to the UN.
Fixing the UN’s disastrous handling of whistleblowers — brave UN employees who often have their lives destroyed for doing the right thing — has long been a priority. The U.S. Congress was so outraged by the UN’s efforts to terrorize and destroy whistleblowers that it took steps to strip funding from UN agencies that rape children or do not implement proper policies protecting those who blow the whistle. But so far, as the U.K. report confirms yet again, the lack of serious measures to protect those who report wrongdoing is contributing to the impunity among UN child rapists.
“It is important that whistleblowing systems exist for the instances when the established reporting mechanisms fail,” the U.K. report said. “To be effective, these systems must be accessible and contain robust protections for the people who use them. The audit of whistleblowing practices outlined by DFID [Department for International Development] should ensure that systems and protections are working in practice, and not just at the policy level. But fundamental culture change is required to channel organisational energy into taking care of victims and tackling perpetrators rather than taking care of reputations and tackling whistleblowers.”
Member of Parliament Stephen Twigg, chair of the International Development Committee that put out the report, said relevant authorities were being “put on notice” to get the sexual abuse under control. “The committee is deeply concerned that previous attempts have amounted to limited action in order to quell media clamour with no lasting impact or redress,” he said, adding that the international “aid sector” has been an “abject failure” when it comes to protecting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.
Hear Their Cries, the group of former officials and whistleblowers working to stop child abuse by UN and “aid” officials, welcomed the U.K. report, which it contributed evidence to. However, the organization also warned that it does not go far enough in ensuring or even promoting accountability. “In 116 pages this report goes on to describe how long and big the problem is and begins to point to solutions,” explained Professor Andrew MacLeod, a co-founder of the group and a former senior UN official. “Yet in those 116 pages the word ‘Prosecution’ only appears three times.”
Among other strategies to protect vulnerable women and children, MacLeod and others at Hear Their Cries called for strengthening laws to prosecute enablers of child rape and sexual abuse — including leaders of agencies involved. And they urged more study of the issue “so that we can all understand just how big the problem is.” While the organization’s previous estimate of 60,000 was condemned as too high by some critics, Hear Their Cries now concedes that it drastically under-estimated the enormity of the abuse. The group also urged celebrities who serve as UN “Goodwill Ambassadors” to suspend their participation in light of the grotesque and systemic abuse being perpetrated against the most vulnerable people on Earth.
While U.K. officials and lawmakers are at least talking about the problem, the U.S. Congress continues to make all Americans complicit by sending never-ending billions of U.S. tax dollars to the UN with virtually no strings attached. At least a handful of U.S. lawmakers are now openly working to defund or even withdraw from the UN. But unless and until the American people speak out in larger numbers, U.S. tax dollars will continue funding and enabling the rape of women and children via the UN and other organizations. If enough people demand action, though, Congress and the Trump administration will be forced to take the issue seriously. The countless victims of gun-toting UN child rapists deserve at least that much.