The United Nations Office of Audit and Investigations is conducting an inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct against an Indian official. Eight men have accused the official at the United Nations of sexual misconduct, American magazine Newsweek reported on Wednesday.
“I would not dispute any of the information contained in the Newsweek article,” United Nations spokesperson Farhan Haq told the Hindustan Times. He said the “subject remains on administrative leave” and that, while still on the United Nations payroll, the person “is not currently performing any active function.” UN Women said he has been under investigation since December.
On Wednesday, the UN organisation for women’s empowerment said, “UN Women aims to be as transparent as possible while ensuring that the integrity of the investigative, and disciplinary process, if any, is safeguarded. For this reason, we cannot comment on any further specifics of the case, as that could undermine the accountability process.”
The official has not yet responded to the allegations. Newsweek alleged that the official was accused of “touching or grabbing a subordinate’s genitals in a hotel room, using work devices to send pornography and follow-up questions to male subordinates, creating a climate of sexual innuendo and obscene gestures in the workplace, and using his position and access as leverage to initiate sexual encounters”.
“He [the accused] does this with a lot of young men, and I don’t really think it’s sexual favours he’s looking for,” one of the complainants told Newsweek. “He enjoys the fact that he’s at a position of such high authority that he can do this and they can’t really do anything about it.”