Election observer missions tainted by 'sexual predators'

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More allegations of international aid workers’ sexual exploitation of the vulnerable people they are assigned to help were revealed last week in a mothballed United Nations report into the extent of an alleged ‘food for sex’ scandal involving numerous NGOs. The Times report followed revelations earlier this year by the paper about how Oxfam covered up evidence that its staff were involved in sex parties with prostitutes during operations in quake-devastated Haiti. But the scandalous behaviour of some involved in worthy international missions is not limited to the humanitarian sphere, as revealed by Fabien Offner in this report into the allegations of the conduct of staff involved in election monitoring missions, and in particular that of some EU election observers in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006.

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British daily The Times last week revealed a hitherto undisclosed report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) dated from 2002 which detailed allegations of how members of NGOs operating in refugee camps in Africa traded food for sexual favours from the unfortunate populations they were assigned to help.