Further to the Secretary-General's Bulletin: Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse,the Humanitarian Coordinator is adopting a preventive approach to ensure protection from sexual exploitation and abuse by our own staff in the humanitarian community. The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to communicate, from the highest levels, the commitment to a zero tolerance for any activities going against its spirit and content.
All responding organizations and entities, including members of the UN system, international and national NGOs, military personnel, government authorities, civil society and private contractors, have a duty of care to people affected by the Nepal earthquake.
This duty of care includes a responsibility to ensure that each indivnews_idual is treated with dignity and respect and receives assistance equally and safely regardless of sex, age,and ability.It also requires that people have the right to information; the ability to provnews_ide feedback if they feel the help they receive is not adequate or has unwelcomed consequences, and also the right to participate in decisions that directly affect their lives.
Sexual exploitation and abuse of those we seek to assist constitutes the most serious breach of accountability towards the survivors of the earthquake . It erodes the confnews_idence and trust of affected communities in all those provnews_iding assistance while damaging our collective integrity.
All responders to this emergency are bound by the legal framework of their respective governing institutions. The UN's Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse wnews_idely accepted as non-negotiable by the broader humanitarian community prohibits behaviours including but not limited to,sexual activity with children (person under the age of 18) regardless of the age of majority or consent locally, sexual favour exchanges for any form of assistance, sexual harassment, misconduct and behaviour with children or any other persons while delivering relief or services. Furthermore, sexual relationships between staff and those receiving assistance are strongly discouraged, and any suspicion of sexual exploitation and abuse by a fellow worker of the same or another agency must be reported through an established reporting mechanisms and managers are particularly charged with developing systems that enable this.
Nepal's General Act 1964 (Muluki Ain 2020), Chapter 14 on Rape and Chapter 13 on Sexual Intent in General Code, 1964 criminalizes acts of sexual violence and harassment with penalties up to 15 years imprisonment. "If a person enters into sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or enters into sexual intercourse with a girl below the age of sixteen years with or without her consent ,it shall be deemed to be an offence of rape."
Any violation of this Code of Conduct constitutes serious misconduct. Sexual exploitation and abuse will be investigated and may lead to disciplinary measures, including summary dismissal, suspension, immediate repatration, and in the case of contractual partners, termination of the contract. Immunity when it exist, will be waived by waived by the Secretary-General should such immunity impede the course of justice.