Category Archives: Gender-based and sexual violence: the current state of the humanitarian sector

Sexual and gender-based violence: bibliographic resources

In addition to the March 2021 issue of Humanitarian Alternatives, dedicated to sexual and gender-based violence in the humanitarian sector, we have compiled and regularly update a reading list of articles and online resources in French and English on this topic. This non-exhaustive list includes contributions from the social and political sciences, general press and popular science articles, activity reports, videos and news reports. Do not hesitate to let us know of any resources that you think are relevant.

Happy reading!

Last update: 27/04/2021

Disclaimer: Humanitarian Alternatives cannot be held responsible for the arguments developed in the articles listed below, nor for the non-maintenance of internet links to access their content.

Press articles

Oxfam accused of ‘rotten’ work culture in Congo by former staff

6 April 2021, The New Humanitarian
Only available in English
Claims of sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, bullying, fraud, and breaches of safeguarding procedures detailed in a February letter to Oxfam chiefs had built up over years with an organisational culture that made it difficult – and dangerous – for employees to report misconduct, five whistleblowers who worked for Oxfam and who signed the letter have told The New Humanitarian.

Oxfam: UK halts funding over new sexual exploitation claims

7 April 2021, BBC News
Only available in English
The UK has suspended aid funding for Oxfam again after fresh allegations of sexual exploitation and bullying were made against staff. Two Oxfam workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were suspended last week following the latest claims. The charity had only been allowed to start reapplying for aid funds in March.

Then and Now: 25 years of sexual exploitation and abuse

11 February 2021, The New Humanitarian
Only available in English
Last year, our investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation uncovered allegations of extensive sexual exploitation and abuse during the 2018-2020 Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was far from the first time we had reported on this widespread, chronic problem – whether at the hands of aid workers or UN peacekeepers. From Bosnia to Haiti to Central African Republic, such abuses have long stained the reputation of the UN and international NGOs, undermining basic trust in the institutions meant to protect and assist people in crisis. The crux of the issue often comes down to imbalances of power – and the power relations between those providing the aid and those receiving it could not be more stark in humanitarian relief. Beginning in the 1990s, this timeline exposes a long cycle of impunity: grave abuses followed by statements of shock and outrage, then belated efforts to stem the problem before another revelation of abuse, either in the same country or in a different part of the world.

Abus sexuels-Ebola : OCHA encourage les humanitaires à œuvrer avec « dignité et intégrité »

15 octobre 2020, Actualités.cd
Only available in French
Dans une déclaration publiée le 13 octobre, le coordonnateur humanitaire David Mclachlan-Karr a réagi aux récentes allégations d’exploitation et d’abus sexuels attribuées aux employés de la riposte à la 10e épidémie d’Ebola dans l’Est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC). Il a encouragé le gouvernement congolais à poursuivre les enquêtes et les humanitaires à poursuivre l’offre de leurs services dans le respect de la dignité et intégrité des personnes bénéficiaires.

Why the UN must set up an independent body to tackle sexual abuse

8 october 2020, The New Humanitarian
Only available in English

RDC: sous le choc des révélations, les humanitaires veulent en finir avec le fléau des abus sexuels

2 octobre 2020, VOA Afrique
Only available in French
Les acteurs humanitaires cherchent à en finir avec le fléau des abus sexuels au sein de leurs équipes, après le choc des révélations d’un nouveau scandale lors de la lutte contre la dernière épidémie d’Ebola dans l’Est de la République démocratique du Congo.

Congo ‘jobs-for-sex’ expose prompts calls for greater scrutiny of aid workers

1 October 2020, Reuters
Only available in English
Vetting aid workers more closely and giving women more power is critical to tackle sex abuse in humanitarian crises as exposed in a joint investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The New Humanitarian, aid experts said on Wednesday.

Ebola en RDC : l’OMS et de grandes ONG au centre d’un scandale sexuel

30 septembre 2020, Jeune Afrique
Only available in French
Des agents de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé et de plusieurs ONG sont accusés d’abus sexuels à l’encontre de plusieurs dizaines de femmes, dans une enquête réalisée par The New Humanitarian et la Fondation Thomson Reuters.

Power, poverty, and aid: The mix that fuelled sex abuse claims in Congo

29 septembre 2020, The New Humanitarian
Also available in French
Sex-for-jobs schemes were an open secret during the Democratic Republic of Congo’s recent Ebola outbreak, half a dozen senior UN officials and NGO workers told reporters from The New Humanitarian and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Strategies put in place to stop such abuses largely failed during the outbreak that swept through the country from 2018 to 2020, aid officials and workers, gender analysts, and researchers who examined the response told reporters in nearly a year of interviews. Reports commissioned by organisations and donors also cited abuse concerns.

More than 50 women accuse aid workers of sex abuse in Congo Ebola crisis

29 septembre 2020, The New Humanitarian
Also available in French
More than 50 women have accused Ebola aid workers from the World Health Organization and leading NGOs of sexual exploitation and abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an investigation by The New Humanitarian and the Thomson Reuters Foundation revealed.

Sexual abuse in aid sector still ‘widespread’

17 juillet 2020, Devex
Only available in English
Almost two years on from a landmark summit on safeguarding in the aid sector, sexual abuse and exploitation are still “widespread” and continuing unreported, according to experts.

Opinion: Global aid worker register to prevent abuse risks doing more harm than good

10 July 2020, Devex
Only available in English
Strengthening preemployment checks to prevent perpetrators from being hired is a key part of the response to sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment, or SEAH, in the aid sector. But the framework proposed by the U.K Department for International Development in its consultation on the Aid Worker Registration Scheme does little to tackle the core issue and risks precipitating new human rights violations with respect to workers’ rights, data protection, and privacy.

Sexual abuse ‘endemic’ within aid sector

31 July 2018, Al Jazeera
Only available in English
Sexual abuse and exploitation of some of the world’s most vulnerable people by humanitarian workers is “endemic”, according to a new report by British members of parliament.

Affaires d’abus sexuels : les ONG ne se soucient pas vraiment de la confiance des populations locales

26 avril 2018, Slate.fr
Only available in French
Depuis deux mois, les révélations d’abus sexuels commis sur le terrain par des membres d’ONG s’accumulent. Seulement, la prise de conscience ne s’est pas accompagnée d’une plus grande implication des bénéficiaires de l’aide humanitaire.

The humanitarian MeToo moment: Where do we go from here?

23 March 2018, The New Humanitarian
Only available in English
What happens when you bring together an Oxfam executive, a whistleblower, an investigator, and representatives from NGO and donor organisations to discuss what’s next in the aid sector’s #MeToo moment? A conversation that, as moderator and executive director of IRIN Heba Aly described it, explored the many “layers of gray” that are often overlooked when discussing how to curb sexual abuse and misconduct within the humanitarian sector.

Urgent action needed to enforce zero tolerance of sexual exploitation by aid workers

21 March 2018, The Conversation
Only available in English

Violences sexuelles par des humanitaires : les ONG peinent à trouver des solutions

1 mars 2018, Le Monde
Only available in French
Après chaque scandale, les ONG mettent en place de nouvelles mesures, chartes et commissions. Sans parvenir à empêcher de nouvelles affaires.

Scandale Oxfam : peut-on vraiment contrôler la vie privée des employés dans les ONG ?

20 février 2018, The Conversation
Only available in French

The Oxfam scandal does not justify demonising the entire aid sector

17 February 2018, The Guardian
Only available in English

Ex-Oxfam official denies organising orgies as Haiti opens probe

16 February 2018, France 24
Only available in English

Comment MSF lutte contre les abus sexuels

15 février 2018, Le Parisien
Only available in French
Dix-neuf personnes ont été licenciées l’an passé à Médecins sans frontières pour abus ou harcèlement sexuel. La directrice juridique de l’organisation humanitaire explique comment l’entreprise aide en interne à la révélation des faits.

Oxfam : la presse britannique parle d’un scandale sexuel “plus important que l’affaire Weinstein”

12 février 2018, Le Monde
Only available in French

Oxfam Haiti sex claims: Charity ‘failed in moral leadership’

11 février 2018, BBC News
Only available in English
Ministers could cut off funding for Oxfam if it cannot account for the way it handled claims of sexual misconduct by aid workers, the international development secretary has warned.

Oxfam in Haiti: ‘It was like a Caligula orgy with prostitutes in Oxfam T-shirts’

9 February 2018, The Times
Only available in English

Minister orders Oxfam to hand over files on Haiti prostitute scandal

9 février 2018, The Times
Only available in English
The government has ordered Oxfam to hand over files on charity staff who paid for sex in earthquake-torn Haiti. The demand follows an investigation by The Times that revealed Oxfam covered up the use of prostitutes by senior aid workers.

Sexual assault and harassment in the aid sector: Survivor stories

7 February 2017, Devex
Only available in English
Aid agencies and international nongovernmental organizations are slowly beginning to recognize that sexual harassment, discrimination and assault against female aid workers is a serious problem within the industry — and that perpetrators are often men holding senior positions. Two advocacy groups formed in the past 18 months by women working in the sector — the Humanitarian Women’s Network and Report the Abuse — have lifted the lid on the problem, collecting survey data from hundreds of female aid workers. The results reveal that sexual harassment, unwanted touching, sexual comments and, in some cases, rape, are a common experience for women working in remote and dangerous humanitarian settings.

Verdict today in case of UN employee accused of raping 23 African girls

11 September 2008, The Irish Times
Only available in English
A Paris court will today hand down a verdict in the case of Didier Bourguet (44), a French citizen accused of raping 23 African girls while serving as a mechanic for a United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Crimes sexuels : Comment arrêter les brebis galeuses de l’humanitaire ?

30 mai 2008, The Economist via Courrier International
Only available in French
Publié mardi 27 mai 2008, un rapport de l’ONG Save The Children accuse des travailleurs humanitaires et des soldats de la paix de commettre des abus sexuels lors de leurs missions. Malheureusement, l’ONU n’a pas toujours les moyens juridiques d’agir.

L’ONU relativise les dérives de l’humanitaire

25 octobre 2002, Libération
Only available in French
En février 2002, c’était l’électrochoc : un rapport conjoint du Haut Commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) et de Save the children Fund (SCF) affirmait que les camps de réfugiés de Sierra Leone, du Liberia et de Guinée étaient le théâtre d’abus sexuels commis en toute impunité par des humanitaires et des Casques bleus. Le rapport, fondé sur des centaines d’entretiens, accusait plus d’une soixantaine de personnes, employées par 40 organisations internationales et non-gouvernementales, d’avoir profité de leur pouvoir pour abuser des réfugiées. Le 24 octobre, un communiqué de presse de l’ONU s’employait à relativiser l’affaire : «L’enquête menée par les inspecteurs des Nations unies n’a pas trouvé d’indices de mauvais traitements répandus des réfugiés par des humanitaires.»

L’humanitaire vire au sordide en Afrique

28 février 2002, Libération
Only available in French
Après le scandale d’un réseau criminel qui avait infiltré le bureau du Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies aux réfugiés (HCR) au Kenya, une nouvelle affaire secoue le monde humanitaire. Un grand nombre d’enfants auraient été victimes d’abus sexuels perpétrés par des humanitaires, aussi bien par le personnel local qu’international ainsi que par des Casques bleus en Sierra Leone, au Liberia et en Guinée. C’est ce que vient de révéler une mission d’évaluation, dont le premier rapport est publié conjointement par le HCR et l’organisation britannique Save the Children Fund. L’ONU vient d’envoyer une équipe d’enquêteurs pour vérifier les graves allégations basées sur les témoignages de quelque 1500 personnes, essentiellement des enfants. A ce jour, 67 personnes travaillant pour 40 organisations humanitaires sont soupçonnées d’abus sexuels sur des filles, âgées pour la plupart de 13 à 18 ans.

Études et rapports

Abus, exploitation et harcèlement sexuels, une prise de conscience collective : Humanitalents donne la parole aux travailleurs humanitaires

Juin 2019, Humanitalents
Only available in French
Humanitalents a souhaité faire une enquête auprès des humanitaires francophones pour comprendre leurs préoccupations sur les questions de harcèlement, exploitation et abus sexuels. Il s’agit d’un premier pas pour mieux cerner la situation actuelle, les perceptions des personnes travaillant dans le secteur ainsi que leurs attentes. Dans un premier temps nous observerons les profils des participant.e.s à l’enquête et leur niveau de préoccupation quant aux différentes problématiques de PSHEA. Ensuite nous regarderons de plus près la connaissance qu’iels ont des outils existants dans la structure où iels travaillent. Enfin, nous étudierons de plus près les freins à prise de parole et à la bonne gestion des cas de SHEA ainsi que leurs recommandations et attentes concernant la prévention et la prise en charge des cas.

Whole of Syria. Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility: Voices from Syria 2019-Assessment Findings of the Humanitarian Needs Overview

2019, United Nations Population Fund
Only available in English
With the Syria crisis approaching its ninth year, the country faces a new reality in which gender dynamics have been significantly altered. Even as parts of Syria appear to be stabilizing, the situation has long since passed a tipping point in terms of accumulated effects, with women and girls shouldering the larger portion of the consequences of the crisis. The lingering ramifications of conflict and displacement are now so fundamentally ingrained that they require long-term and strategic solutions. This report provides and in-depth look in to the lives of women and girls who are striving to find their place in the aftermath of conflict. The information, individual accounts and recommendations contained in this report serve as a valuable primer for aid agencies in delivering a comprehensive and effective response to gender-based violence, which continues to pervade the lives of women and girls throughout Syria.

Enhancing accountability SEA: Is a Sector Ombudsperson the next step?

September 2018, ICVA
Only available in English
Since the media disclosure of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) cases by humanitarian actors in February 2018, attempts to address the issue and increase protection against SEA have multiplied. Among other efforts to improve internal practices and create effective complaint mechanisms, the idea of creating a Humanitarian Sector Ombudsperson’s office (HSO) with the power to handle SEA issues throughout the sector is also being discussed. This paper aims at feeding this reflection among ICVA members by briefly discussing some elements and practical implications in the establishment and running of an HSO.

Humanitarian Experiences with Sexual Violence: Compilation of Two Years of Report the Abuse Data Collection

August 2017, Report The Abuse
Only available in English
Report the Abuse (RTA) began operating on 19 August 2015, and one of its first acts was to open up a public, confidential, non-judgemental, and anonymous platform where humanitarian aid workers could express their experiences and knowledge about sexual violence incidents within the humanitarian community. With the closure of RTA on 20 August 2017, we wanted to ensure that information about sexual violence in the humanitarian community was available long past the end of the NGO’s operations.

Aucun Recours : La Sous-Représentation de l’Exploitation et de la Violence Sexuelles Subies par les Enfants aux Mains des Travailleurs Humanitaires et des Soldats de la Paix

1 mai 2008, Save The Children
Only available in French
Des enfants qui vivent dans des pays sous l’emprise de conflits et de désastres naturels font l’objet d’exploitation et de violences sexuelles aux mains de ceux mêmes qui ont été embauchés pour les aider : les travailleurs humanitaires et les soldats de la paix. Le silence assourdissant qui entoure ces abus est presque aussi choquant que les actes eux-mêmes. La crainte et un sentiment d’impuissance font que les enfants et leurs familles ne dénoncent pas leurs agresseurs. D’autre part, les organisations internationales ne gèrent pas suffisamment efficacement les allégations de maltraitance portées contre leur personnel. Aucun recours cherche à faire avancer le débat et à stimuler les efforts pour tenter de résoudre ce terrible problème. En se basant sur une étude menée auprès des communautés et des organisations internationales, il examine la sous-représentation chronique de la maltraitance et l’absence de mesures adéquates pour y faire face. Il fournit une nouvelle analyse sur les raisons pour lesquelles la maltraitance perdure malgré les efforts internationaux et propose de nouvelles solutions pour y faire face.

To complain or not to complain: still the question. Consultations with humanitarian aid beneficiaries on their perceptions of efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse

2008, HAP
Only available in English
Between August and November in 2007, 295 humanitarian aid beneficiaries in Kenya, Namibia and Thailand participated in consultations about their perceptions of prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse. This report provides the background, purpose and methodology of the consultation. Then follows a detailed report for each of the three countries where consultations were held, including country-specific recommendations. The report concludes with an assessment of challenges facing humanitarian agencies in their efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse, and a set of recommendations for next steps.

Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance

2008, Transparency International
Only available in English
This report is the first product of the second phase of Transparency International’s (TI) program aimed at preventing corruption in humanitarian operations, focusing on the aftermath of both natural disasters and civil conflicts. It is hoped that this TI program will enable the documentation sharing and implementation of good practice and tools for minimising the risks of corruption in humanitarian assistance. The first phase of the TI program concentrated on improving the diagnosis of corruption risks in humanitarian assistance programmes.

Investigation into sexual exploitation of refugees by aid workers in West Africa: Note by the Secretary-General A/57/465

11 novembre 2002, ONU
Also available in French
This report contains observations as to the factors which contribute to sexual exploitation in refugee communities, including aspects of refugee camp life, camp structure, camp security, food and services distribution, employment opportunities, profiles of camp workers and quality and quantities of food and other relief items distributed.

Note for Implementing and Operational Partners on Sexual Violence and Exploitation by UNHCR and the Save the Children-UK: The Experience of Refugees Children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

February 2002, UNHCR and Save The Children UK
Only available in English
This assessment was initiated by UNHCR and Save the Children-UK (SC-UK) due to growing concerns, based on their field experience, about the nature and extent of sexual violence and exploitation of refugee children and other children of concern to UNHCR1 in the countries of the Mano River Sub Region2 in West Africa. The purpose of the assessment was primarily to gather further information, primarily through consultations with children, about the scope of the problem in the countries concerned and the responses of the different actors: UN agencies, governments, NGOs, refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) communities and the children themselves. This would inform the development of an action plan for UNHCR and the child protection agencies to better address the problem.

Circulars and official texts

Secretary-General’s Bulletin ST/SGB/2003/13: “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse”

9 octobre 2003, ONU
Also available in French
The Secretary-General, for the purpose of preventing and addressing cases of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and taking into consideration General Assembly resolution 57/306 of 15 April 2003, “Investigation into sexual exploitation of refugees by aid workers in West Africa”, promulgates dispositions in consultation with Executive Heads of separately administered organs and programmes of the United Nations.

Academic reviews and journals

Sexual exploitation and abuse in peace operations: trends, policy responses and future directions

1 March 2017, Jasmine-Kim Westendorf and Louise Searle, International Affairs
Only available in English
In 2013, a UN investigation declared sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) ‘the most significant risk to UN peacekeeping missions’. The exploitation and abuse of women and children by peacekeepers, aid workers, private contractors and other interveners has become ubiquitous to peace operations, ranging from rape to transactional sex, sex trafficking, prostitution and pornography. This article investigates the causes of SEA by interveners, and the development of policy responses undertaken by the UN and the international humanitarian community to prevent and ensure accountability for SEA. We argue that use of the umbrella term ‘SEA’, while helpful in distinguishing such behaviour from other forms of abuse, obscures the significant differences in the form, function and causes of the behaviours that fall under it, and we develop an account of the dominant forms SEA takes, based on survivor testimony, in order to better understand why policy responses have been ineffective. Our analysis of global policies around SEA demonstrates that it is dealt with as a discrete form of misbehaviour that occurs on an individual level and can be addressed through largely information-based training processes that inform personnel of its prohibition but fail to engage them in discussions of the local, international, normative, systemic and structural factors that give rise to it. We identify the structural and bureaucratic pressures that have contributed to the narrowing of approach regarding SEA to focus on individual compliance rather than the more complex set of factors at play, and which have undermined the effectiveness of policies globally.

Les opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations unies : le problème des violences sexuelles

2017, Nathalie Durhin, Revue Défense Nationale
Only available in French
La question des violences sexuelles attribuées aux casques bleus lors d’opérations de maintien de la paix (OMP) est ancienne mais toujours d’actualité. Les Nations unies (NU) sont revenues sous le feu des projecteurs depuis quelques années, pour des allégations concernant la République centrafricaine (RCA) et des militaires français, qui n’étaient pourtant pas sous le commandement onusien. La persistance de ces accusations pose question : quelles sont les causes et les conséquences de ce fléau, et pourquoi est-il si difficile d’y mettre un terme ? Existe-t-il un risque de manipulation à des fins politiques, comme cela a été parfois mentionné ? La nouvelle approche retenue par les NU pourra-t-elle permettre d’inverser la tendance ?

Interviews

De la domination sexuelle dans les empires coloniaux

3 décembre 2019, Philippe Testard-Vaillant/CNRS
Only available in French
Un an après la polémique sur leur livre « Sexe, race & colonies », des chercheurs publient un nouvel ouvrage sur la domination sexuelle dans les empires coloniaux. Explications avec deux de ses codirecteurs, l’historienne Christelle Taraud et l’anthropologue Gilles Boëtsc.

Tools

Sexual Violence and Abuse in the Aid Workplace (dataset)

2018, Centre for Humanitarian Data, OCHA
Only available in English
This dataset contains agency- and publicly-reported data on sexual violence and abuse against aid workers between January 2015 and December 2017.

Violences sexuelles dans le secteur de la coopération internationale

2018-présent, AQOCI
Only available in French
En 2018, le CQFD de l’AQOCI a entamé un vaste chantier de travail à propos des violences sexuelles. Cette démarche témoigne de la ferme volonté politique des membres de l’AQOCI d’accroître leurs capacités relativement à la prévention et à l’accompagnement des personnes ayant subi une forme de violence sexuelle, quelle que soit cette dernière. Le CQFD a développé approche féministe et centrée sur la survivante, avec l’appui des Centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel et la violence faite aux femmes (CALAQS). Une série de fiches est disponible, destinée à renforcer les capacités de ses membres et soutenir le travail relatif aux politiques, procédures et culture organisationnelle.

Conduct in UN field missions

2016-present, UN
Only available in English
Record keeping and data tracking of allegations of misconduct started in 2006. In July 2008, the Department of Field Support (DFS) launched the Misconduct Tracking System (MTS), a global, restricted-access database and confidential tracking system for all allegations of misconduct. MTS is now managed by the Conduct and Discipline Service in the Department for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, and it facilitates case management and information sharing between field missions and CDS. When information about possible allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse is received, the information is assessed by the Heads of Missions, by DMSPC and/or by the Office of Internal Oversight Services. Reconciliation of information received by the various entities takes place. This is a continuous process that aims to confirm whether information received refers to new allegations. Updates to the data on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are made once reconciliation and assessment of information have been completed, or when information has been received on the outcome of investigations or actions taken in response to substantiated allegations.

Survey on Sexual Aggression and Assault, Full survey results

2016, Humanitarian Women’s Network
Only available in English

Building Safer Organisations (BSO) Handbook

2007, International Council of Voluntary Agencies
Only available in English
This 2007 Handbook was the first of Building Safer Organisations’ (BSO) publications and contains training materials on receiving and investigating allegations of abuse and exploitation by humanitarian workers. A compilation of materials from the BSO Learning Programmes, it is an informal syllabus for workshop facilitators and a general reference on good practice for participants.

Press releases

Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: next steps

8 July 2020, UK Parliament
Only available in English
This Committee agreed early in this Parliament to draw up a comprehensive re-examination of progress taken to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector. Our focus is the aid recipients who become victims and survivors of abuse at the hands of individuals working in the sector. This inquiry will consider the support needed by victims and survivors to secure justice and rebuild their lives when they have experienced abuse, what can be done to change the culture in the aid sector to prevent it from occurring in the first place, and how the new Foreign Affairs and Development Office (FCDO) should take this work forward.

Prévention du harcèlement, de l’exploitation et des abus sexuels : Oxfam déploie des systèmes de prévention plus solides dans le monde entier

23 octobre 2018, Oxfam
Only available in French
Oxfam rend public le deuxième rapport d’avancement de son « Plan d’actions en dix points » visant la prévention du harcèlement, de l’exploitation et des abus sexuels ainsi que le soutien aux victimes.

International summit to crack down on sexual predators in the aid sector

18 October 2018, UK Government
Only available in English
World’s leading aid players gather in London to make major commitments at International Safeguarding Summit on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Videos

Webinaires sur les codes de conduite pour prévenir et répondre aux violences sexuelles : Partie 1 et Partie 2

20 juin 2019 et 28 aout 2019, AQOCI
Only available in French

Webinaire : Mettre fin aux abus sexuels par les humanitaires et les Casques bleus : Actions concrètes du terrain

27 Septembre 2016, Peer to Peer Support
Only available in French
L’exploitation et les abus sexuels commis sur les populations affectées par le personnel humanitaire et des missions de maintien de la paix constituent l’un des pires échecs de redevabilité envers ceux avec qui et pour qui nous travaillons. Comme le Secrétaire général des Nations Unies l’a clairement stipulé, la confiance que les populations nous accordent ne devrait jamais être brisée par d’abjects actes d’exploitation et d’abus sexuels. Il est de notre responsabilité de protéger ceux que nous servons. Ce webinaire se focalise sur les actions que tous les acteurs humanitaires et personnel des missions de maintien de la paix peuvent et doivent mettre en place concrètement dans leur pratique humanitaire pour, premièrement, s’assurer que la Protection contre l’exploitation et les abus sexuels (PSEA) est correctement mise en œuvre, et deuxièmement, qu’une protection et un soutien satisfaisants sont apportés aux survivants d’exploitation et d’abus sexuels. Nous prenons exemple sur les actions mises en œuvre en République centrafricaine, qui a été le théâtre de graves cas d’exploitation et d’abus sexuels.

“Do no harm”: the challenge of transactional sex in humanitarian operations

J.-K. Westendorf

Jasmine-Kim Westendorf Senior Lecturer in International Relations at La Trobe University (Australia)

Based on testimonies gathered in different theatres of humanitarian operations, Jasmine-Kim Westendorf analyses the political, as well as the concrete, conditions that facilitate abuses. The author focuses on “transactional sex”, which is particularly complex to combat as it is so ingrained in the power imbalance between humanitarians and beneficiaries. Read the article

Sexual exploitation and abuse in humanitarian organisations in Cameroon: methods for identification and logics of obstruction

J. É. Mba

Jean Émile Mba Doctoral student in political science at the University of Ngaoundéré (Cameroon)

Staff turnover, breaches of confidentiality within the organisations responsible for gathering complaints and attempts at a cover-up by refugee-camp authorities all reflect the difficulty of implementing measures against sexual abuse in fragile contexts. This is the case in Cameroon where Jean Émile Mba takes us to learn about the valiant efforts but also limitations of the methods put in place to combat abuse by humanitarian workers. Read the article

Confronting sexual violence in Quebec’s international cooperation organisations

I. Auclair


J. St-Georges


S. Maltais


S. Brière


A. Delorme

Isabelle Auclair, Jade St-Georges, Stéphanie Maltais and Sophie Brière Université Laval (Québec)

Anne Delorme Fund Director for the Act Together for Inclusion Fund at the NGO Equitas (Canada)

How do Quebec’s international cooperation organisations (ICOs) deal with gender-based and sexual violence? Basing their reasoning on a survey carried out in 2018 among forty of these ICOs, the five authors believe that the scope and ultimately the incentive value of the measures put in place are more than variable. Read the article

Sexual abuse perpetrated by humanitarian workers: from moral relativism to competitive victimhood

F. Duroch


E. Noyer

Françoise Duroch Humanitarian Issues and Practices Research Unit, Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva Operations Centre (Switzerland)

Emmanuel Noyer Abuse and Behavior Unit, Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva Operations Centre (Switzerland)

Drawing on the example of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Françoise Duroch and Emmanuel Noyer review the measures taken by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) to combat sexual violence. The authors show the moral relativism that runs through humanitarian organisations concerned with preserving their public image. Admittedly, the latter are increasingly aware of their obligation to monitor the behaviour of their employees, but the systems need to tackle inequalities, especially gender-based ones. For the authors, NGOs will only achieve this by integrating intersectional approaches. Read the article

Reflections on patriarchy and the fight against gender-based and sexual violence in the humanitarian sector

S. Guillaumat

Segolen Guillaumat Teacher-researcher at the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership (CHL)/Deakin University (Australia)

If the humanitarian sector is not immune to gender-based and sexual violence, it is because it is subject to patriarchal male-female dynamics, as are so many other sectors of society. Some of its specific characteristics can facilitate violence against vulnerable populations whilst others allow it to “immunise” itself against their complaints. To counter the patriarchy’s grip within the humanitarian sector, the author advocates for it to take a “dominant position” on the subject and urge free speech, taking into account the local context in which this violence is anchored. Read the article

How to better understand the management of sexist and sexual violence committed by humanitarian aid workers

J. Verlin

Jan Verlin Postdoctoral researcher at the Research Chair in the Geopolitics of Risk at the École normale supérieure

To introduce this Focus, its joint editor Jan Verlin presents a non-exhaustive review of the academic literature devoted to the theme of gender-based and sexual violence in humanitarian work. The first observation is that while the subject has eluded practitioners in the humanitarian sector for too long, it is also almost absent from “humanitarian studies”. The author therefore proposes an analytical framework that makes possible to understand how organisations implement systems to combat this violence. While it offers to take stock of the potential of the reforms proposed by these organisations, it also highlights their limitations.

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