United National Secretary General António Guterres stated that the United Nations would not tolerate any sexual harassment within the institution, at the UN Headquarters in New York on Friday.
Mr Guterres laid out a plan to be implemented across the UN, noting that issues such as sexual violence are rooted in power-imbalances and the patriarchal culture present within institutions. “This creates obstacles to upholding zero tolerance policies on sexual harassment, including here at the United Nations. I am determined to remove [those obstacles],” he said.
For the first time in history, the UN has implemented a gender parity strategy – where an equal number of men and women hold senior management positions in the UN Secretariat.
A confidential helpline for staff within the Secretariat, and a Task Force is to be put in place. In addition, Mr Guterres stated that he will strengthen protection for whistleblowers and reminded all staff their duty to support those affected.
“In this effort and beyond, my message is simple: we will not tolerate sexual harassment anytime, anywhere,” he said. “And we will continue to change the dynamic and put greater power into the hands of women to prevent and end sexual harassment and all abuse of power in the UN.”
Such efforts follow several allegations of sexual harassment and assault in the UN through an investigative report by The Guardian. See more here.