By creating an unfunded Trust Fund for community assistance projects, instead of individual compensation for victims of its own negligence, the UN is selling the victims of lead poisoning at its camps in Kosovo short. When he took office, Secretary-General Guterres promised to build a culture of accountability and make victims of UN wrongdoing a priority. Apparently that doesn’t apply to the men, women and children poisoned in Kosovo over a decade ago. Secretary-General Guterres inherited this problem, but he can still change course and implement the UN’s own advisory panel’s recommendations, most importantly by providing victims and their families with adequate individual compensation. Dodging responsibility for the suffering of lead poisoning victims, only serves to undercut attempts to make the UN more accountable for its own failures. And in turn refusal to take responsibility for harm caused by the UN undermines the organization's ability to press governments and others to remedy their human rights abuses.
- Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch