Peter Newell, the United Nations’ top children’s rights official, has been jailed after pleading guilty to five charges relating to the rape and indecent assault of a child.
Newell, 77, whose charity received hundreds of thousands of dollars in UN funding every year, has been imprisoned for six years and eight months after being convicted at London’s Blackfriars crown court for molesting a boy who was 12 years old when the abuse began.
The high-profile convicted pedophile resigned from his position as co-ordinator of the children’s charity Approach, active across Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia, after he was arrested on the child sex charges.
Approach supposedly “lobbies for the protection of children around the world” and receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from the UN and private donors every year, according to the Daily Telegraph.
While managing Approach, Newell used the charity to advocate for the “protection of children from violence, including smacking by parents”, and sections of a manual he wrote for UNICEF included a advice for adults on gaining “consent” from children.
Sections from the manual authored by Newell prove he understood the consequences of his actions on the life of children he raped. One sentence from the manual reads: “Research now testifies to the potentially serious short- and long-term effects on development of all forms of violence, including sexual abuse and exploitation.”
In 2015, the charity brought a complaint to the Council of Europe, the EU’s leading human rights organisation, against France and six other EU countries over their failure to explicitly ban smacking children.
While attempting to gain a Europe-wide ban on parents smacking their children, septuagenarian Newell was raping other people’s children.
London’s Metropolitan Police said Peter Newell’s offences were first reported in March 2016 by his victim, who was just 12 when the offences began.
They took at a number of addresses and locations in south and east England, including London.
The UK’s Charity Commission said it was informed by Approach about the allegation against Newell in 2016 and had been in touch with the organisation over implementing new safeguarding procedures to protect children from pedophiles within the ranks of the children’s charity.
“The charity has confirmed that it has safeguarding policies and procedures in place which are being kept under review and that the charity and the trustees have very limited contact with children and that there is no suggestion that the charity’s beneficiaries were or are at risk,” it said.