Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: what lessons can be learned from UN accountability processes

  • Wed 27 Mar 19

    13:00 - 14:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event speaker

    Dr Carla Ferstman, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Essex Workshop on Development (EWOD)

  • Event organiser

    Essex Law School

  • Contact details

    Dr Thoko Kaime
    01206 873768

Sexual exploitation and abuse is an all too present feature of post-conflict contexts, fuelled by factors such as poverty, discrimination, significant power imbalances and inadequate governance and oversight structures.

The engagement of peacekeepers and other personnel involved in peacekeeping and associated UN missions in such abuses has received notoriety in recent years, resulting in the adoption by the UN of a “Zero-Tolerance Policy” which has focused mainly on prevention measures. The humanitarian aid sector has also been affected, with scandals involving Oxfam and others leading the UK Parliament International Development Committee to initiate a public inquiry into what more should be done.

Speaker: Carla Ferstman, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
Internal Discussant: Julie Hannah, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
External Discussant: Nicole Piché is the Coordinator/Legal Adviser of the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group. 

Carla Ferstman has carried out research and written extensively on peacekeeper sexual exploitation and abuse, and her talk will focus on what lessons can be learned from the efforts to address peacekeeper abuses, for the humanitarian aid sector. She will speak in particular about the challenges to investigate and prosecute sexual exploitation and abuse allegedly perpetrated by humanitarian workers, and will explore some of the options under consideration to address the accountability gaps, such as extending extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction, strengthening host state capacity to investigate and prosecute, and setting up specialised international bodies to address the lacunae. The talk will also consider the challenges associated with vetting aid workers and setting up a centralised register of offenders.

Julie Hannah is the Co-Director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy.  Ms. Hannah has a wide range of experience in directing programmes and supporting projects in both humanitarian and human rights environments.  Her research focuses on drug control and international UN human rights institutions, drug control and the right to health, and the use of force in drug control enforcement activities.

Nicole Piché is Co-ordinator and Legal Advisor of the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (“PHRG”), which brings together UK Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum to raise awareness of serious and systematic human rights violations, particularly political and civil, outside the UK, and to work for redress and reform. In that role since 2000, she has advised and assisted UK Parliamentarians with the promotion and protection of international human rights norms; provided a Parliamentary focal point on international human rights issues for a range of external stakeholders; and, undertaken capacity-building initiatives in the field of human rights and related areas. During her sabbatical with VSO in Rwanda in 2011, she was Management and Advocacy Coach with the Rwanda National Decade Steering Committee in Kigali. She qualified as a solicitor, has a BSC(Econ) International Relations from the London School of Economics and an LLM from the University of London.

All Welcome. Please book your ticket via Eventbrite

Related events