“Professor MacLeod worked as an aid boss for the UN all over the world, including high profile jobs in the Balkans, Rwanda and Pakistan – where he was chief of operations of the UN’s Emergency Coordination Centre.
He is campaigning for far tougher checks on aid workers in the field as well as the abusers among them to be brought to justice, and wants the UK to lead the fight.
“The professor’s grim 60,000 figure is based on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s admission last year that UN peacekeepers and civilian staff abused 311 victims in just one 12 month period over 2016.
The UN also admits that the likely true number of cases reported against its staff is double that, as figures outside of war zones are not centrally collated.
Prof MacLeod also estimates that only one in 10 of all rapes and assaults by UN staff are reported, as even in the UK the reporting rate is just 14 per cent.
Based on evidence from Prof MacLeod, ex-Cabinet minister Priti Patel – who resigned in November last year – today accused senior officials at DFID of being part of the cover up.
Ms Patel said senior DFID staff tried to talk her out of making a critical speech about aid workers’ sex abuse, arguing that it was only by UN soldiers and to claim otherwise was “over-stepping the mark”.
Britain is one of the top 10 contributors to the UN budget, handing over £2bn a year.
Prof MacLeod insisted that meant the “difficult truth” that “child rape crimes are being inadvertently funded in part by United Kingdom tax-payer”.
He added: “I know there were a lot of discussions at senior levels of the United Nations about ‘something must be done’ but nothing effective came of it, and if you look at the record of whistleblowers, they were fired.
“We are looking at a problem on the scale of the Catholic Church — if not bigger.””