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UNAIDS In ‘Crisis’ Following Sexual Harassment Allegations, Independent Panel Report Says, Calls For Change In Leadership

Associated Press: UNAIDS found in ‘crisis’ after sex harassment claims
“Independent experts looking into allegations of sexual harassment at the U.N. agency that fights AIDS say it is plagued by ‘defective leadership,’ a culture of impunity, and a toxic working environment that cannot 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…” (Keaten/Chang, 12/7).

CNN: U.N. AIDS agency in crisis over abusive and patriarchal culture, report says
“…The report was commissioned by UNAIDS earlier this year after a raft of allegations against managers, including revelations in an exclusive report by CNN. In that report, three women made allegations of sexual assault against the then-deputy director of the agency…” (Krever, 12/7).

The Guardian: Pressure grows on U.N. official accused of encouraging ‘harassment and abuse’
“…The independent four-member panel that conducted the assessment were fiercely critical of the agency’s approach to handling complaints, describing its processes as ‘confusing, non-confidential, slow, and ineffective.’ Such methods were not free from interference of management, the report added…” (Ratcliffe, 12/7).

New York Times: U.N. AIDS Agency Is in ‘State of Crisis’ and Needs New Leader, Report Says
“…The panel’s four members pinned responsibility for the crisis on the program’s executive director, Michel Sidibé, saying that under his autocratic leadership the agency had become a cult of personality marked by ‘favoritism, preferment, and ethical blindness’ that failed to prevent harassment and abuse or respond swiftly to accusations of ill treatment. ‘A change in leadership has become necessary,’ the experts concluded…” (Cumming-Bruce, 12/7).

Science: Panel investigating bullying, harassment at UNAIDS finds ‘boy’s club,’ calls for firing of head
“…UNAIDS issued a 54-page ‘management response‘ to the panel report, but Sidibé shows no signs of stepping down immediately. ‘I have taken on board the criticisms made by the Panel,’ he said in a statement. ‘In proposing this agenda, I am confident that we can focus on moving forward. I will spend the next 12 months implementing this agenda for change and making the UNAIDS workplace one where everyone feels safe and included’ (Cohen, 12/7).

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