UN agency in ‘cri­sis’ af­ter sex scan­dal

Toronto Sun - - NEWS -

GENEVA — In­de­pen­dent ex­perts look­ing into al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment at the UN agency that fights AIDS say it’s plagued by “de­fec­tive lead­er­ship,” a cul­ture of im­punity, and a toxic work­ing en­vi­ron­ment that can’t be changed un­less its top of­fi­cial is re­placed.

In a damn­ing new re­port re­leased Fri­day, the four ex­perts cited a “vac­uum of ac­count­abil­ity” and said UNAIDS lead­ers had failed to pre­vent or prop­erly re­spond to al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment, bul­ly­ing and abuse of power.

The panel was cre­ated ear­lier this year fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment by staffers and calls from crit­ics for ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Michel Sidibe of Mali to re­sign.

Sidibe has de­nied claims he tried to force an em­ployee to drop al­le­ga­tions that she was sex­u­ally as­saulted by his for­mer deputy.

And de­spite the scathing re­port, Sidibe said in a state­ment he’s the right man to turn around the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

That isn’t what the in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve.

“The panel has no con­fi­dence that the cur­rent lead­er­ship can de­liver cul­tural change when that lead­er­ship has been largely re­spon­si­ble for the cur­rent malaise,” the re­port said.

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