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Waive immunity granted to UNFPA officials: sexual harassment victim

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A group of right activists today came out in support of a former at a UN body in who has alleged by her seniors and demanded that legal immunity granted to staffers of the be waived to help the police probe the matter and question the accused.

The former Population Fund (UNFPA) said she was not able to exercise her constitutional rights and alleged the accused had not yet been questioned.

Despite being the victim I am made to feel like an accused while the powerful UNFPA officials are going on with their daily life because of the immunity provision granted to them," she said at a press conference where representatives of groups were also present.

Members of organisations such as Humsafar Trust, (AHF) and said allegations of were surfacing across several UN agencies and expressed concern over the safety and security of women working there.

"I demand that the immunity be waived so that the police can probe the matter thoroughly and I get justice," the former UNFPA told reporters here.

The 30-year-old woman had earlier also complained to about the case. The protocol division of the MEA in March had asked her to cooperate with the UNFPA internal investigation services, the complainant said.

"Despite such cases of sexual assault becoming pervasive, there still exists a culture of impunity that allows such heinous crimes," she added.

The right groups also demanded the immediate resignation of a of the Joint Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) claiming that he had "mishandled" allegations levelled by a woman employee.

Over 40 organisations working in on various global and national projects expressed their solidarity with the complainants by signing a joint statement sent to the office of UN

"There have been serious attempts to influence, instigate, and delay all efforts to resolve the case by UNFPA leadership." the AHF said in a statement released at the press conference.

"...in both the cases, the misuse of diplomatic status and immunity associated with higher positions in the UN system is evident," it said.

Many senior UN staff enjoy diplomatic immunity, which means they can avoid national courts.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 17 2018. 19:10 IST
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