Today, U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D-MD.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee respectively, announced committee passage of the bipartisan U.S. Department of State Authorization Act of 2017. The legislation requires U.S. leadership at the United Nations (U.N.) to end sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and to protect whistleblowers.
GAP client Miranda Brown was instrumental in bringing both issues to the attention of the Senate Committee. She is a UN whistleblower who lost her job at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) after disclosing peacekeepers’ sexual abuse of children and intense retaliation against the senior official at OHCHR who first tried to address the abuse of children by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.
The role of whistleblowers in this affair cannot be overstated. It is doubtful that the widespread problem of sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children by peacekeepers would have seen the light of day, absent the disclosures of at least three whistleblowers. In the current climate of defensiveness and reprisal at the UN, all three paid a heavy price. GAP is seeking to remedy the retaliation they suffered, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been a strong advocate for them during this painful period.