National Investigation Officers (NIO) have a key role in the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). Personnel deployed to operations under UN command and control are prohibited from committing acts of SEA. SEA violates universally recognised international legal norms and standards and constitutes serious misconduct.
SEA may constitute a form of sexual and gender-based violence and is predatory behaviour. It can, in some instances, amount to a violation of fundamental human rights. It has devastating consequences for victims, and it undermines the legitimacy and credibility of UN efforts towards peace and security, gender equality and protection.
SEA represents an ever-present challenge to delivering operational and tactical effects towards the pillars of peace and security and human rights because it breaks the trust between the UN and the communities it serves.
The aim of this material is to train NIO to be knowledgeable to undertake investigations in the field in response to allegations of serious misconduct. The role of the NIO is to undertake impartial investigations into serious misconduct allegations to determine if an allegation of misconduct is substantiated.
With respect to SEA investigations, the primary aim is to ensure NIO have the tools to investigate SEA to promote probity, transparency, and accountability. This supports ‘prevention’ through discouraging others who may intend to commit such acts and ‘response’ by ensuring those who against whom an allegation of SEA is substantiated are held accountable through administrative and disciplinary measures, as well as, when applicable, through referral for criminal accountability within military or national justice systems.
This material also links SEA to other thematic areas of the human rights and peace and security pillars, such as the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and UN efforts to achieve gender equality and protection. In this respect it incorporates a gender perspective to what is a significantly gendered issue in terms of the conditions and circumstances under which SEA is perpetrated, who it is perpetrated against, by whom it is perpetrated, and how it is prevented and responded to by contingents, member states and the UN system.
Structure of the Training Materials