Report: United Nations rife with sexual harassment and assault

Now we know what the UN is doing when it’s not passing resolutions to condemn Israel or sending peacekeepers around the world to molest local children. According to a report at the Guardian Thursday, the staff at the UN experience frequent sexual harassment and assault, including rape.

Of the employees interviewed, 15 said they had experienced or reported sexual harassment or assault within the past five years. The alleged offences ranged from verbal harassment to rape…

Three women who reported sexual harassment or sexual assault, all from different offices, said they had since been forced out of their jobs or threatened with the termination of their contract in the past year. The alleged perpetrators, who include a senior UN official, remain in their posts.

One of the women, who alleges she was raped by a more senior UN staff member while working in a remote location, said: “There are no other options to get justice, and I have lost my job too.”

She said that despite medical evidence and witness testimonies, an internal investigation by the UN found insufficient evidence to support her allegation. Along with her job, she says she has lost her visa and has spent months in hospital due to stress and trauma. She fears she will face persecution if she returns to her home country…

One aid worker, who claims she was harassed by a senior UN employee, said she has little hope of justice. “Even when you summon your courage to complain and you exhaust all the internal mechanisms, like I did, all the resources, all the processes, there’s nothing for you,” she said. “They mobilise friends, colleagues against you. I had threats, sent through friends, that ‘She will never set foot in this office again.’”

Whatever the number of reported incidents might be the number of actual ones is much greater. Some women describe incidents of assault which they chose not to report for fear of losing their jobs. Some employees also told the Guardian they were offered promotions in exchange for sexual favors.

As mentioned above, the UN has been heavily criticized for several incidents in which its own peacekeepers reportedly molested young girls and boys while stationed in Haiti and the Central African Republic. There was even a 2010 feature film, The Whistleblower starring Rachel Weisz, about UN peacekeepers involvement in sex slavery in Bosnia. The UN, like Hollywood, has a long-standing sexual assault problem.

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