Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Joyce Msuya, Opening of the PSEAH event “Fit for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment?”, 11 May 2022 – Global


Welcome to this interactive theatrical event.

I very much regret that I cannot be with you today.

I have seen the terrible scars borne by women and children who are victims of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. It is a global threat from which no country, institution or family is immune.

At the heart of this problem is the abuse of power. Those of us who operate in disaster-torn places wield immense power over the people we serve. We are often their only source of vital support. It is therefore our responsibility, as managers, leaders and first responders, to ensure that the international aid community uses this power correctly.

A key part of this is learning to detect, prevent and respond to sexual abuse and exploitation when we encounter it in the course of our work. To do this, we must familiarize ourselves with codes of conduct and we must know how to react when we see people breaking these rules.

The space created here today is a chance to do so. This is an opportunity to share your thoughts and listen to others. It’s a chance to learn to act courageously when you witness sexual abuse, exploitation or harassment.

I would like to thank Ambassador Manuel Bessler and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for organizing such an important event.

But I also want to thank each of you for your active participation.

If we are to eradicate this global threat, we must recognize abuses of power and know how to respond appropriately. That’s why I’m so grateful to you for being here today.

Thank you for intervening.

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