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UN put your house in order first: Sri Lankan UN staffer accuses UN director of sexual harassment

The UN self-appointed bully on behalf powerful countries of the world regularly issues demarches at countries through its associate bodies as if it is 100% perfect & morally eligible to do so. Surprise, surprise, UN has more skeletons in its closet than it will admit. Financial corruption/mismanagement, abuse of funds, harassment of whistleblowers, to sexual harassment are just a handful of the piling cases against the UN & its high & mighty officials. Shihana Mohamed a senior UN staffer has accused the head of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) of sexual harassment & what does the UN do…ask the ICSC head to retire 2 weeks before retirement & even gives him a farewell & no action is taken against him while she is transferred. So much for UN zero tolerance on sexual harassment.

Senior UN official resigns undermining sexual abuse charges” by Thalif Deen (14 Dec 2018) was the only article on the web. Mainstream media is also silent as are the usual band wagon of rights activists. All are now ganging up against the victims. The most likely reason for this institutionalized climate of protecting the perpetrators is that there is a likelihood that the entire system is corrupt apart from a handful & so naturally they each want to protect their own. And these are the supposed champions of good governance….

Kingston Rhodes, Chairman of International Civil Service Commission based in New York was accused of sexual harassment by 4 women including a Sri Lankan UN staffer in November 2017

How shameful of the UN system to hold a farewell party on the day of his abrupt resignation when he should have been booed out of office!

Antonia Kirkland of Equality Now had told IPS that UNSG Guterres acknowledged 10 months earlier (March 2018) that the allegations against ISCS head were ‘credible’ & serious” if so why has no action been taken against him – is asking him to resign two weeks before resignation the punitive action of UN? Why hasn’t the UNSG and the UN system protected the VICTIM instead of quietly asking the PERPETRATOR to leave & ensuring that the world media did not flag the crime?

Antonia Kirkland has voiced what we are all thinking All those who have been found to perpetrate sexual harassment should be held accountable. The UN is the premier international defender of human rights and should start by defending its own employees from sexual harassment in the workplace,”

Why did the OIOS taken over a year to complete investigations against the ICSC head? UN rules say an investigation should take 3 months!

Why is the OIOS and the ICSC hiding the contents of the report under the carpet? Isn’t this the UN preaching accountability, transparency & visibility in all matters so much so that they want to even change constitutions of countries!

What is the point in having a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on sexual abuse if the UN officials are guilty of committing sexual harassment and the UN is siding with the culprit?

What a ridiculous response by the UNSG’s spokesperson to say that the ICSC is not part of the UN?

When the complaint was made against the ICSC head to the UN Ethics Office the response to transfer the COMPLAINANT without putting the ABUSER on administrative leave pending conclusion of inquiry. Why was the COMPLAINANT transferred? If the UNSG & UNGA President say ICSC is not part of the UN how can they transfer Ms Mohamed to another UN entity?

It is irrelevant that one of the complainant is a Sri Lankan, Ms Shihana Mohamed Human Resources Policies Officer working with ISCS since 2005 & in the UN system for over 20 years but her complaint cannot end up with her becoming the victim of sexual abuse PLUS victim of a UN system that takes the side of the sexual abuser & not the sexually harassed victim.

According to Ms Mohamed I was sexually harassed by the Chairman of the ICSC for over 10 years – and I was NOT THE ONLY ONE. Because I said NO” to his repeated sexual advances, he denied me promotions, and excluded me from duty travels, training, assignments, projects, Commission sessions & working groups” …. in 2016, I was on sick leave for 3 months due to the stress caused by the hostile office environment and retaliation by the ICSC management”.

What kind of sick set up is this? Does it mean that besides Kingston Rhodes there are more sexual perverts inside the ICSC and the UN system? Is sexual harassment part of the UN culture and do females have to grin & bear it? Is the UN response to cold-shoulder the victim & making life hell for her because she did the unforgiveable by reporting her superior for sexual harassment – isn’t this why the poor lady had to take 3 months sick leave due to stress?

If the ICSC head is a UN official elected by the General Assembly why is the UNSG and President of the UNGA saying they have no jurisdiction over the ICSC Chairman? If the UNSG or UNGA has no jurisdiction over Kingston Rhodes, who does?

Why is the UN using the 1946 Convention on Privileges & Immunities to PROTECT SEXUAL OFFENDERS inside the UN?

If Kingston Rhodes is not part of the UN system how can he enjoy the immunity from the 1946 Convention on Privileges & Immunities? This is truly an insult to the women who work in the UN system.

We are a little puzzled by the manner the UN & UNSG & UNSG’s spokesman claim to say they have no jurisdiction over ICSC head. Article 8 of the ICSC says For the purposes of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Commission shall have the status of officials of the United Nations.”

If ICSC members (Under-Secretary General & 40 employees) are elected by the UNGA how can they not be answerable to the Secretary General or the President of the UNGA? And this is the same UN that is trying to pin accountability to President & Armed Forces heads for isolated misdemeanors of soldiers in a conflict.

From the statements issued from the office of the UNSG & UNGA President it shows no sincerity except the usual flogged words that have no meaning except to endorse some statement was made.

International Civil Service Commission was established by the UNGA in 1974. ICSC regulates & coordinates the conditions of service of staff in the UN Common System. ICSC has 15 members who are appointed by the UNGA for a 4-year term. The Chairman & Vice-Chairman are full-time members based in New York.

ICSC can claim to be an ‘independent’ body however it statute clearly says that it is endorsed by the UNGA

Just because Article 7 of the ICSC statue says no appointment of a member of the Commission can be terminated unless, in the unanimous opinion of the other members, he or she has ceased to discharge the duties in a manner consistent with the provisions of the present statute” does it mean Kingston Rhodes can sexually harass staff and the staff have to grin & bear it?

If the UN system cannot conclude who Kingston Rhodes is accountable to – whether it is the UNSG, UNGA, President of the UNGA, ICSC Commissioners who meet only 2 a year, how can UN and their template machines go preaching accountability to the world?

ICSC is embroiled in not only sexual harassment – a proposed salary cut has triggered protests in UN offices in Geneva, Thailand, Ethiopia and likely to spread to UN field operations too (some 60,000 UN staffers are not very happy with the ICSC)

UN … pl put your house in order first & take care of the skeletons in your closet before you go pointing fingers at the rest of the world.

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Not seen a single statement from her on the allegations against ICSC head or nothing to highlight taking the side of the victim… so what are these tamashas and wasteful propaganda posters for… who are they all fooling? Put that money to better use…

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Shenali Waduge



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