The United Nations Human Rights Commission commended the Vatican for its new directives governing the sexual abuse of minors—the rules closely parallel those adopted by the bishops in the United States—but it could not stop there: it resorted to one of its typical lectures. It told the Catholic Church it must do better and needs to enforce its zero tolerance policy.
The timing couldn’t be better. Three days ago a report was issued by researchers at the University of Birmingham and Ontario University detailing U.N. employees who raped impoverished women in Haiti, fathering hundreds of babies.
The rapists are employed by the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Girls as young as 11 are forced to raise children by themselves, living in abject poverty. What did the U.N. “peacekeepers” give the girls whom they raped? Coins. As one of the victims put it, “They put a few coins in your hands to drop a baby in you.”
The U.N. has a lousy record dealing with the molesters it employs. In 2015, after the U.N. lectured the Vatican on this issue, I wrote to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the U.N., asking him “to do one of two things: a) either ensure that the United Nations’ policy on ‘zero tolerance’ against convicted sex abusers serving in peacekeeping missions is enforced immediately, or b) cease and desist from probing into alleged sexual abuse violations committed by those in the employ of the Holy See.”
I reminded the secretary general that the U.N. adopted a zero tolerance policy to combat sexual abuse in 2004, yet it was never enforced. “It is more than laughable—it is obscene—that U.N. peacekeeping members who have been convicted of sexual abuse are not even fined!” The following year I noted that the U.N. has no problem telling the Catholic Church that it needs to change its teachings on sexuality, though it never tells Muslims they need to change their Islamic teachings.
The U.N. needs to get its own house in order. It can begin by turning their criminals over to law enforcement. And the U.N. itself should make restitution to the girls whom their “peacekeepers” raped, as well as making provisions for their children.
Contact Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary General António Guterres: [email protected]