Claims of UN sexual misconduct in Fiji

Sexual misconduct allegations against UN agency

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is formally investigating claims of sexual misconduct against two members of its Fiji staff.

The head of Fiji’s Women’s Crisis Centre says the allegations of sexual misconduct are a sign that all organisations should be open to scrutiny.

The investigation follows complaints laid by three female employees against two senior male staff.

The complaints allege the events happened in the UN Suva office.

The Crisis Centre’s Shamima Ali says the UN has suspended the accused men and asked them to leave Fiji.

She says the police are not yet involved but she wants the courts to hear the claims.

She says she doesn’t want them swept under the carpet.

“I think it’s quite disgusting and it should be of concern to all of us. And you know the good thing about it is at least it has come out and there has been some ownership of it. But I think the fact that it happened within organisations that are out here to help the vulnerable, it is a lot more shocking,” she says.

Shamima Ali says she encourages Fijian women to speak out against workplace harassment. She says they should be part of the global trend to expose unsafe working environments.

UN confirms investigation

The UN’s WFP says the investigation is an internal one for now.

Furthermore, it says it’s in its early stages.

It confirms that it has removed relevant staff members from their duties while the investigation continues.

It says it’s keeping local authorities informed of its progress.

The WFP says it strengthened its policies this year in an attempt to end abusive conduct.

It also wants to correct under-reporting of such events to ensure dignified and respectful treatment of all employees.

The UN’s WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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