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NewsGirls & Women

Oversight Group Tells UN to Step Up Women's Protection Worldwide

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The UN is failing to protect women within its agencies, an independent oversight body stated Monday.

Following 40 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse made against UN peacekeeping missions, funds, programs, and partners during the last three months of 2017, the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) made recommendations “to improve ways for staff to report harassment, retaliation, and other forms of misconduct, and safeguard whistleblowers who are prepared to reveal cases of abuse,” reported Reuters.

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“Over the past few years, there have been high-profile cases of whistleblowers from United Nations system organizations who have gone public for a variety of reasons, including a perceived lack of adequate action by their organization in response to their initial reporting of misconduct and/or retaliation,” the JIU said in its 110-page report.

The JIU evaluated practices at 28 UN agencies, conducting staff surveys and interviewing more than 400 people, including 17 who had reported wrongdoing, noted Reuters.

Of those, 53% said they had witnessed misconduct or wrongdoing within the past five years and not reported it “because they lacked confidence that confidentiality would be fully respected and that they would be effectively protected if they did report.”

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The Joint Inspection Unit is “the only independent external oversight body of the United Nations system mandated to conduct evaluations, inspections and investigations system-wide,” as described in its mission statement.

After reviewing inconsistencies and reltatiation practices throughout the world body, the JIU has recommended five best practices criteria for the UN to implement moving forward: reporting  of misconduct and wrongdoing; protection against retaliation; additional support available to people reporting misconduct and wrongdoing; preliminary review, recording and investigation  of misconduct, wrongdoing, and retaliation reports; and the general strength of policy.