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May 21

Speaking of “no boundaries”

Filed under: issues,News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:50 am

Getty ImagesThe United Nations, home of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Gender and Equality, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, apparently needs to take a good look inside its own ranks. As today’s Wall Street Journal reports:

The United Nations, which aspires to protect human rights around the world, is struggling to deal with an embarrassing string of sexual-harassment complaints within its own ranks.

Many U.N. workers who have made or faced accusations of sexual harassment say the current system for handling complaints is arbitrary, unfair and mired in bureaucracy. One employee’s complaint that she was sexually harassed for years by her supervisor in Gaza, for example, was investigated by one of her boss’s colleagues, who cleared him.

Cases can take years to adjudicate. Accusers have no access to investigative reports. Several women who complained of harassment say their employment contracts weren’t renewed, and the men they accused retired or resigned, putting them out of reach of the U.N. justice system.

“No matter which way the cases go, they mishandle it,” says George G. Irving, a former U.N. attorney who now represents clients on both sides of such cases.

The U.N. has announced plans to implement changes to its internal justice system on July 1, but some in the know say they’re still not enough. For one thing: “Many U.N. managers have diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution or civil litigation.” Well, then.

The WSJ has done an in-depth investigation; click here for the rest of the gories. And here, and here, for BG’s take on sexual harassment.


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