Demanding Greater Accountability – response to the latest New Humanitarian story on sexual abuse and exploitation in South Sudan

22 September 2022

by Tanya Wood

Executive Director, CHS Alliance

CHS Alliance is dismayed to read the reports by the New Humanitarian of sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment (SEAH) committed by humanitarian workers in South Sudan. These allegations demonstrate yet another failure of fellow aid actors to honour the Commitments made to people in crisis, through the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEAH) are among the most egregious failures of accountability in the aid sector. SEAH, rooted in gender and power inequality, is a manifestation of abuse of power by aid actors towards the communities they exist to serve. It damages lives of individuals, erodes the confidence of communities, and undermines the collective integrity of the aid sector.

CHS Alliance takes a firm stance against sexual abuse and those who cover up such crimes.

We acknowledge the trauma and bravery of the victim/survivors who have courageously disclosed and reported their stories at great personal risk. We commend the whistleblowers.

Failing to act promptly and robustly on allegations of SEAH and account for victims/survivors’ wishes, needs, rights and outcomes is a double violation. It fuels mistrust against aid actors and emboldens perpetrators to reoffend.

Our focus should be the opposite: Reinforce preventive measures, improve reporting of SEAH incidents, conduct thorough victim  / survivor centered investigations, redress, provide immediate support to victims/survivors and work alongside victims/survivors to re-build trust. This requires real reform in organisational procedures, cultures, and attitudes.

CHS Alliance is committed to closing the accountability gap to better serve victims/survivors of SEAH through a victim centered approach in the aid sector and to strengthen accountability among aid organisations, both individually and as a collective, so that we can better serve people affected by crisis.

We demand greater accountability to people affected by crisis.