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Giving Compass' Take:
• Amy Lieberman reports that the UN's reporting process for sexual harassment is convoluted and requires such a high burden of proof that it is ineffective.
• How can philanthropy help organizations revamp their sexual misconduct policies and processes? What is the appropriate burden of proof for sexual harassment and assault allegations?
• Find out how aid organizations can safeguard against sexual abuse.
There is no single, clear path to pursue reporting sexual harassment or assault within the United Nations.
The #AidToo movement in the development and aid sector, along with recent departures of several top U.N. officials, has captured the attention of U.N. leadership, making it increasingly easier to follow through on reporting incidents, some experts say. But others say it still remains a murky process that can be tricky to navigate — and even more challenging to count on when it comes to clear results and accountability.
The U.N. launched a 24-hour helpline earlier this year to offer U.N. staffers more information on all available reporting channels.
Policies vary across individual U.N. agencies and bodies, leading to the potential for confusion. U.N. agencies have their own internal, individual process for reporting. But staffers outside of the U.N. Secretariat generally look to agency-specific ombudsman, human resources officers or their superiors, to report sexual harassment.
The U.N. separates sexual harassment (any unwelcome sexual behavior between U.N. staff) from sexual exploitation and abuse (a violation of non-U.N. staff) — a distinction that does not make sense to some, such as Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World and its Code Blue Campaign, which researches and tracks sex exploitation and abuse by U.N. peacekeepers.
Choosing the best route to report sexual harassment can become especially complicated if an alleged victim is working in the field, away from a central office. In other cases, the reporting might be outsourced. The U.N. Office for Project Services in Europe handles human resources for the Nairobi-based headquarters of the U.N. Environment Programme.
Read the full article about reporting sexual harassment at the UN by Amy Lieberman at Devex International Development.