Today, Miranda Brown, the former Acting Director of the Africa Branch at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary General asking that he stop the investigation of Anders Kompass, the OHCHR official who reported sexual abuse of children at a camp for the displaced in the Central African Republic last summer. Dr. Brown has been asked to participate as a witness in the investigation but has refused. She states in her letter that the exercise is tainted by undue influence. She also asserts the obvious: no one should be penalized for trying to stop the sexual abuse of a child.
Dr. Brown’s letter argues that Mr. Kompass followed best practice of many UN member states in reporting the child abuse to law enforcement, and she points out that he was not the only OHCHR staff member to report the abuse. Yet he is the only one under investigation.
Although Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has taken action to address the child abuse revealed by Mr. Kompass by appointing a panel to conduct a review, he should also address the unjust and punitive treatment of Mr. Kompass, a responsible senior official acting within his authority to protect child victims of war from sexual predators. Here’s an excerpt of Dr. Brown’s letter:
Dear Secretary General,
I write to request that you urgently put an end to the Office of Internal Oversight Service (OIOS) investigation into the disclosure by Mr Anders Kompass, Director at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), of the MINUSCA report Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces in the M’Poko IDP camp in Bangui, Central African Republic to the French authorities.
I am a key witness in this investigation. I was the Acting Director of the Africa Branch at OHCHR in early August 2014 during the period shortly after the MINUSCA report came to OHCHR’s attention in Geneva. Mr Kompass was my direct supervisor at the time. Emails document my involvement and I was the key contact between OHCHR and MINUSCA during the period immediately following the disclosure.
OIOS has repeatedly tried to interview me in connection with their investigation into Mr Kompass’ disclosure (the latest request was on 25 September 2015) but I have not provided testimony as I believe the investigation was fundamentally flawed at the outset and may constitute an abuse of authority.