Justice for victims of sexual harassment, sexual abuse and sex discrimination within the United Nations

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Equality Now has identified several problematic trends in cases of sexual harassment and sex discrimination brought by female UN staff within the UN internal system of justice. It appears that complainants are often denied due process and may find themselves dismissed from their position after bringing a grievance. In 2009, Equality Now became involved in four such cases within different UN entities, working with the plaintiffs and their counsel. These cases have received national and international attention.

We recommended to the UN Secretary-General and other relevant UN agencies that the UN establish transparent complaint and investigation procedures; provide mandatory gender sensitivity training to staff investigating these types of cases; and have appropriate follow-up mechanisms to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. The Secretary-General responded to Equality Now (pdf, 300 KB) in February 2009, stating that sexual harassment and sex discrimination are high priority concerns, and expressing faith in the new system of justice being established. Equality Now continues to hold the UN accountable for establishing transparent, effective procedures for addressing cases of sexual harassment and sex discrimination within the UN system.