UN Migration Addresses Prevention of Sexual Abuse, Exploitation and Harassment and Internal Displacement at ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment

Gender and Migration, Internally Displaced Persons

New York – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is co-hosting two side events at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Humanitarian Segment (HAS) today (19/06) taking place at the UN Headquarters, New York. The first event will focus on the prevention of sexual abuse, exploitation (PSEA) and harassment and the second on addressing complex internal displacement crises.

HAS is an essential platform for discussing strengthening the coordination and effectiveness of UN humanitarian assistance and will be underway from today until 21 June. The theme of this year’s discussion is “Restoring humanity, respecting human dignity and leaving no one behind: Working together to reduce people’s humanitarian need, risk and vulnerability”.

In the first side event, IOM is co-hosting “Rebuilding Trust and Increasing Accountability to Prevent Sexual Abuse, Exploitation and Harassment of and by Humanitarian Staff”. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock will moderate a panel, with IOM Director General and Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Champion on PSEA William Lacy Swing delivering a keynote address. Co-organized with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and InterAction, the other panellists will include representatives from Oxfam America, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), as well as the UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia.

The panel will discuss the humanitarian community’s PSEA and Sexual Harassment and Abuse (SHA) efforts, as well as the Member States’ role in ensuring that these collective efforts are adequately resourced, political will is sustained and that their nationals are held to account for any misconduct.

Following the panel presentations, Member States and other stakeholders will be invited to make statements from the floor on institutional commitments to address all forms of sexual misconduct. The event will be an opportunity for IOM to reiterate its commitment with IASC and partners to be accountable to those they serve and those they work alongside. In the second side event, “Reducing displacement risk and addressing complex internal displacement crises: Ethiopia, showcasing emerging good practice in operationalizing the humanitarian-development nexus”, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies Mohammed Abdiker will moderate a panel and deliver closing remarks. The event is co-organized with the European Union, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

In 2017, the world again experienced high rates of internal displacement, driven by conflicts, political instability, sudden and slow-onset disasters, environmental factors and unsustainable refugee returns. According to the Global Report on Internal Displacement, there were 30.6 million new internal displacements associated with conflict or disasters across 143 countries and territories.

This side event will focus on issues around protracted displacement and durable solutions. It will explore how states can integrate internal displacement effectively in both long-term development planning and crisis response, and how UN agencies, donors, and other actors can work together to support states in this process. The panellists will also look at what ‘operationalizing the humanitarian-development nexus’ means in the context of internal displacement, including ways to address financing, coordination and evidence gaps.

Among the panellists will be the Permanent Representative of the Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations in Geneva, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, the UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia as well as the Director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which provide a critical normative framework, grounded in international law, for addressing internal displacement.

Throughout this year, IOM is marking the anniversary through numerous events, stories and a campaign.

More info on the 2018 ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment can be found here.

For more information, please contact Rahma Soliman at IOM New York, Tel. +1 917 515 7454, Email: rsoliman@iom.int 

  • A Rohingya refugee woman and advocate for women who have suffered sexual violence stands in the doorway of a humanitarian centre in South Bangladesh. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM 2017

  • IOM Director General and IOM staff speak with internally displaced women in Maiduguri. Photo: Julia Burpee/IOM 2017