FRONTLINE Wins Robert F. Kennedy Award for “UN Sex Abuse Scandal”


May 3, 2019

The FRONTLINE documentary UN Sex Abuse Scandal has been honored with a 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

The 2018 documentary, from director Sam Collyns and award-winning correspondent Ramita Navai, investigates sexual abuse perpetrated by United Nations peacekeepers, and why it has persisted despite the UN’s efforts to stamp it out.

The RFK Award judges praised the investigation as a “powerful exploration of the human toll of the UN sex abuse scandal, giving voice to the victims who so long have been voiceless.” They added, “FRONTLINE uncovered cases [of abuse] left unexplored for decades…unmasking the systemic human rights abuses of those they were meant to protect. [The documentary] shines a spotlight on a structural problem: the UN’s continuing inability to hold peacekeepers to account.”

“We are thrilled to win this prestigious award. It feels like vindication for a painstaking piece of journalism that took the best part of a year to come to fruition,” producers Navai and Collyns said in a statement to FRONTLINE.

“Above all, we hope the award will help focus attention on the plight of the victims of sexual abuse highlighted in our film — whose voices are too rarely heard — and bring further pressure on the United Nations itself to seriously address the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse amongst its peacekeepers. We are grateful to FRONTLINE and Channel 4 for giving us their full backing and unyielding support,” Navai and Collyns added.

“We are honored that UN Sex Abuse Scandal has been recognized by the Robert F. Kennedy Awards,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “This documentary shines a light on a difficult story, and underscores the power of bold, accountability journalism. We congratulate both Ramita and Sam on this well deserved win.”

The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, given annually by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, recognize outstanding reporting on human rights and social justice issues. UN Sex Abuse Scandal — Ronachan Films production for WGBH/FRONTLINE and Channel 4 in associate with Arte — won in the International Television category. The 2019 RFK Award winners will be honored on May 23 in Washington, D.C. at the awards’ 51st anniversary celebration.

Navai’s 2017 documentary Iraq Uncovered was previously honored with a 2018 RFK Award in the International Television category. Including this year’s win, FRONTLINE has earned 18 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards to date. You can read the full list of this year’s RFK Award winners here, and watch our award-winning documentary, UN Sex Abuse Scandal, below:

UN Sex Abuse Scandal (Credits)



Anne Husted

Anne Husted, Series Publicity Manager, FRONTLINE



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