Virus of Sexual Harassment has Infested the UN

Whenever there is an issue of human rights being violated one normally would go to the United Nations for protection of their rights. Isn’t that so? Well, what is one to do when your rights are violated by members of the United Nations itself???

The UN is currently under pressure to deal with an embarrassing series of sexual harassment complaints made against its own staff, The Wall Street Journal reported.

UN workers who are involved on either side of the case say that the present system for dealing with complaints is unjust and mired in bureaucracy. For instance, a female employee lodged a complaint that she had been sexually harassed for a number of years by her supervisor in Gaza. Her case was investigated, but by one of her boss’s colleague, who eventually cleared him of all charges.

These cases can take years to adjudicate. Many women who complained of harassment either did not have their employment contracts renewed or the men whom they accused retired or resigned, putting them out of reach of the UN justice system.

In 2002, Joumana Al-Mahayni, a Syrian, working as a secretary to Yusuf Mansur, then chief of the Kuwait office of the United Nations Development Programme filed a complaint the following year, alleging that Mr. Mansur had made sexual advances and then refused to renew her contract when she didn’t respond to his advances.

The UN has been urged to change its system of handling sexual harassment cases. This drive for change by and large resulted from a case in 2004 involving Ruud Lubbers, then head of the U.N.’s main refugee agency and the former prime minister of the Netherlands and Cynthia Brzak, a longtime American staff member, who was sexually harassed by the former.

These are just a few of the long list of cases (pending judgment/judgment passed) of sexual harassment. If the UN cannot protect the rights of its very own staff how can an outsider be sure that they will receive justice from such an organization?

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