Jane Holl Lute on standing up for 'the values we all believe in'

Date: 
Friday, 15 September 2017

Worldwide | iSeek

Jane Holl Lute, Special Coordinator on improving the United Nations response to sexual exploitation and abuse, met with iSeek to share her views on what we - as UN staff - can do to end this scourge.

Ahead of the High-Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse to be held in New York on 18 September, Jane Holl Lute, Special Coordinator on improving the United Nations response to sexual exploitation and abuse, met with iSeek to share her views on what we - as UN staff- can do to end this scourge.

What do you and the Secretary-General want to tell to staff about this subject?

At the heart of anyone who is joining the UN is a deeply held personal commitment in the best humanity has to offer. We all want to connect to something bigger than ourselves; we all want to connect to a more peaceful world, a more just world, a world in which every person is valued and the dignity of every person is maintained.

It is precisely building on that sensibility that we all share, that we all need to do our part to see that sexual exploitation and abuse has no place in our midst, in any dimension of our operation. And that every individual staff member can make a difference, any single person associated with UN operations can make a difference whether you in a uniform, a civilian or at any part of any operation: humanitarian, peacekeeping, development and our other work.

You can all stand up for the values that we believe in and say: “This will not happen here”. And when it does happen, we will respond rapidly, we will keep the victims at the foremost of our mind and we will get them the help they need. We will work for their rights and dignity and we will work collaboratively with the Member States to create the kind of culture and the kind of understanding universally that we hope people have of the United Nations.

What can a staff member do if they witness, are privy to, or suspect this behaviour is going on?

We don’t want to turn staff members into criminal investigators; that is not their job. But we do want them to affirmatively make themselves aware of what are the channels for reporting this behaviour. There are channels that exist in every part of the Organisation for the appropriate reporting: OIOS, Conduct and Discipline Teams, Conduct and Discipline Unit, Inspectors General. Every part of our system has a reporting channel for this kind of behaviour.

So when you suspect this behaviour, and you have grounds for your suspicion and as much as you know about it, report it to the appropriate channels. And in those channels, we want to get immediate assistance and help to victims, and we also want to immediately initiate the appropriate administrative and judicial procedures to get to the bottom of the facts. 

Learn more on:

UN Intranet - Seek stories on UN response to secual exploitation and abuse
Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse  on UN public website