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Unsilenced: Unmasking the United Nations’ Culture of Cover-ups, Corruption and Impunity


The 142 pager book is a story of a world ex­periencing increasing conflicts, terrorism and displacement, many people are wondering what the United Nations – the organization established in 1945 to save future generations from the scourge of war – should or could have done to prevent these disasters from escalat­ing. Unsilenced shows that, in fact, the UN has remained a bystander in many of these conflicts and that peace-building efforts have not only been undermined by the five permanent mem­bers of the Un Security Council, but also by the UN’s many agencies and programmes.

The book exposes how, under the guise of de­velopment, stability and the “war on terror”, the UN fails to prevent conflicts in many parts of the world, and in some cases, misleads the public about the scale of a problem. The book also re­veals the web of lies, cover-ups, corruption and impunity within the United Nations that has al­lowed wrongdoing to continue unabated. Many of these acts of wrongdoing occur or continue because the UN fails to protect whistleblowers; on the contrary, most UN whistleblowers expe­rience severe retaliation.

Unsilenced describes how whistleblowers have been denied justice within the UN system and how the immunity accorded to UN officials and the conflict of interest inherent in the UN’s internal justice system allow the perpetrators of criminal or unethical activities to go unpun­ished. The book is an urgent call for a serious reform of this bureaucratic, arcane and in­creasingly politicized organization – because not doing so constitutes a betrayal of the trust invested in it by the people and countries that depend on it.


Rasna Warah is a Kenyan writer and journalist. She is the author of War Crimes (2014), Moga­dishu Then and Now (2012), Red Soil and Roast­ed Maize (2011), and Triple Heritage (1998). She currently writes a column for the Daily Nation, Kenya’s leading daily news source. For several years, Ms. Warah worked as a writer and editor at the United Nations Human Settlements Pro­gramme (UN-Habitat) based in Nairobi, Kenya. She studied psychology and women’s studies at Suffolk University in Boston, USA, and holds an MA in communication for development from Malmo University in Sweden.

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