United Nations Allowed Sexual Abuse at Its Offices For Years, Claims Report
New Delhi, Jan 18: The complaints of sexual abuse by women employees of the United Nations at its various offices went unheard for years, claimed a report by leading international newspaper. The women, in their complaints, said the UN allowed the alleged abusers to continue in their offices. They also added that persons accused of sexual abuse also influenced the investigations conducted by the agency.
A report of the Guardian highlighted the women further alleged that the risk of losing jobs gets higher if the victims raise their voice against the culture of silence prevailing in the institution. One woman, on the condition of anonymity, said she was abused by a senior official at her office.
She added that she visited three different gynecologists after the assault because the medical team lacked the expertise in dealing with such sensitive cases. She even alleged she was not made available the services of any counsellor to deal with the trauma of the assault.
“I was in a manic state. I was fluctuating between being very precise and knowing exactly what to do and severe traumatic episodes while crying loudly,” The Guardian quoted the victim as saying.
The United Nations have been severally criticised for the incidents of sexual abuse by its peacekeeping missions in Africa and other parts of the world. But the reports of sexual abuse at its offices have surfaced for the first time in press.
The abusers, cited by the report, also threatened the ombudsman to not to pursue investigations in such cases. The report also showed that many victims of the sexual abuse did not pursue their cases in absence of hope for justice.
The United Nations, in its report, too conceded the sexual abuse within the organisation remains a concern. “Data collected system-wide in 2016 indicate that 65 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving civilians were reported, while 80 allegations were made against uniformed personnel. These 145 allegations are associated with at least 311 known victims, the vast majority of whom (309) are women and girls, although there may be more,” said organisation in its report.