Sexual exploitation and abuse: Victims, Survivors First
Jane Connors, Victims’ Rights Advocate visited Haiti from 22 to 26 April 2018 to learn more about the work done by MINUJUSTH and the UN Country Team to implement the UN Secretary-General’s strategy to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse. The Victims’ Rights Advocate’s visit was supported by the Field Victims’ Rights Advocate, Giuseppe Calandruccio.
While in Haiti, Ms. Conors interacted with key stakeholders, including MINUJUSTH senior leadership, members of the Inter-agency Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Task Force, national authorities and civil society representatives, including the Office of the Ombudsman, Haiti’s Paris Principles compliant national human rights institution. Her main goal was to hear from the victims themselves, and, after meeting with women and children who survived abuse, she had an opportunity to learn more about their concerns and aspirations for justice.
For victims to become ‘survivors,’ we must ensure that they can immediately file a complaint and are protected from stigma and retaliation; the investigation must be conducted seriously, putting their rights first, and requests for assistance (short- or long-term) must be taken into consideration. We support approaches through which those responsible for sexual exploitation and abuse can be brought to justice."
The mandate of the Victims’ Rights Advocate focuses on putting the rights and dignity of victims at the forefront of the UN’s efforts to fight against sexual exploitation and abuse. The Advocate works with the entire UN system, Member States and civil society to support an integrated and strategic policy response to victim assistance. This was Ms. Conors third country visit since taking up her post in September 2017.
"We cannot lose sight of the victims and the impact that sexual exploitation and abuse has on their lives. We can do more together to support those who have been most affected, to ensure that their views are heard and respected, and stand alongside them as they rebuild their lives.”