Sex Harassment Cases Besiege UN

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2009 5:58 AM CDT
Sex Harassment Cases Besiege UN
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has vowed to crack down on sexual harassment and sex discrimination.   (AP Photo/Keystone/Laurent Gillieron)

The United Nations is being hammered by a string of sexual harassment cases filed by employees, reports the Wall Street Journal. The development is particularly painful for an organization that is supposed to uphold human rights around the world. Victims complain about an old-boys' network of adjudication that allows colleagues to clear associates, and contracts for women who complain often are not renewed. The UN doesn't even track the total number of cases filed, and victims have no access to investigative files.

Cases often can't be pursued in court because many targets of sex harassment cases have diplomatic immunity. "This scourge remains a high priority issue for me," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon vowed in a recent letter to a woman's organization. But a former UN attorney who has represented clients on both sides of the issue complained: "No matter which way the cases go, they mishandle it." (More United Nations stories.)

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