Inga-Britt Ahlenius herself left the UN after submitting a critical report. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT.
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Anders Kompass framför FN-logga
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Swedish UN whistleblower Anders Kompass. Photo: AP.

Sweden urged to hold UN leadership accountable over whistleblower scandal

"Sweden makes a point of being courageous and defending the spirit of the UN"
0:31 min

A former top United Nations official tells Radio Sweden that this Nordic nation can do a lot to help whistleblowers at the international organization like Swedish rights worker Anders Kompass.

"Money talks, and Sweden can have a big voice in choosing the new UN secretary general," says Inga-Britt Ahlenius, who served as chief auditor of the UN until 2011.

The former number three in the UN tells Radio Sweden that the international organization is failing to live up to the high ideals of its charter because its leadership is too weak to cope with the inevitable problems, and this is a situation perpetuated by the five permanent members of the security council.

Whistleblower Anders Kompass was suspended from his job in the UN in April 2015, after reporting abuses committed by blue helmeted peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. An internal report has since exonerated and praised him, but he says to Dagens Nyheter that he now plans to leave the UN.

The Swedish United Nations Association has named Anders Compass its "UN friend of the year".

Inga-Britt Ahlenius says that focus is now on the accountability of the UN leadership, and it owes Anders Kompass a public apology.

"Sweden makes a point of being courageous and defending the spirit of the United Nations. I think this is the moment," says Inga Britt Ahlenius.

"Is your loyalty with a well-functioning organisation, or with a leadership that is failing its duty?"

She quotes a saying by Sweden's Dag Hammarskjöld, killed in 1961 while serving as UN secretary general, "Never for the sake of peace and quiet deny your convictions."

And when it comes to what Sweden can do to help the organisation become stronger, she says getting a capable leader to replace Ban Ki Moon is more important than securing a seat on the Security Council.

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