UN staff suspended over sex-act in car
The United Nations has placed two of its workers on unpaid leave over allegations of sexual misconduct in an official car in Israel.
The men were filmed in a UN-marked vehicle on a main street by Tel Aviv’s seafront.
In the video, a woman in a red dress is seen straddling a man in the back seat of the car.
The UN launched an investigation into the 18-second video after it was shared widely on social media last month.
Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN’s secretary general, said he was “shocked and deeply disturbed” by the footage.
Now the UN says the men in the video have been identified as staff members of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), UN military observers based in Israel.
The two staff members have been suspended without pay until the investigation into the incident has concluded.
Mr Dujarric told the BBC on Thursday their suspension was appropriate “given the seriousness of the allegations of failing to observe the standards of conduct expected of international civil servants”.
“UNTSO has re-engaged in a robust awareness-raising campaign to remind its personnel of their obligations to the UN Code of Conduct,” Mr Dujarric said.
The UN has strict policies against sexual misconduct by its staff members.
Staff may be disciplined if they are found to be in breach of conduct rules. They may be repatriated or banned from UN peacekeeping operations, but it is the responsibility of their home nation to take further disciplinary or legal action.
The UN has long been under scrutiny over allegations of sexual misconduct by its peacekeepers and other staff. There have been frequent allegations in recent years.
In 2019, there were 175 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against UN staff members, a report said. Of those allegations, 16 were substantiated, 15 were unsubstantiated and all others were still being investigated.
Secretary General António Guterres has pledged to take a “zero-tolerance” approach to sexual misconduct within the UN’s ranks.
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