UN Holds Insider Only Call On Safe Space Report After UN Guterres Did Nothing on UNAIDS Sidibe

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UN Holds Insider Only Call On Safe Space Report After UN Guterres Did Nothing on UNAIDS Sidibe

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFTracker Report

UNITED NATIONS GATE, January 16 -- UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has claimed he has a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual harassment, and for retaliation. But after Guterres imposed on Inner City Press on ongoing ban against entering the UN, made permanent by his Alison Smale in an August 17 unappealable letter, his two spokesman are refusing to answer written questions from Inner City Press about Guterres ignoring victims of abuse and harassment including at UNAIDS under Michel Sidibe. Now in Guterres' increasingly corrupt UN system, a briefing has been proffered for January 16 - but tellingly not on the UN's Media Alert - on a report on sexual harassment the UN paid Deloitte for. Inner City Press has been provided with it by multiple sources and exclusively puts it online here, for crowd-sourcing. And here now is Guterres' cover letter to staff. Despite Inner City Press covering this issue, from UNFPA to UNESCO to UNAIDS, its questions have not been answered nor was it told how to be on the insiders-only telephonic briefing. But some on the phone have provided it an audio file - the World Food Program did not partipate in the survey; the UN claims the Ethics Office is "very active," which staff disagree with. Dujarric, who moderated the call, deferred an answer on UNAIDS - to whom? When? We'll have more on this. Before the day's noon briefing Inner City Press in writing asked Guterres, Deputy Amina J. Mohammed, Alison Smale and spokesman Dujarric: "January 16-4: The Deloitte "Safe Space Survey Report," how much did it cost the public? How was Deloitte chosen? What is the SG's comment and action on the systemic sexual harassment at UNAIDS, UNFPA including Diego Palacios (will SG lift immunity? If not, why not?), ICSC and UNESCO? Who has been held accountable?  January 16-5: Relatedly, what is the SG's response to UN staff complaints that the report only covered sexual harassment and excluded abuse of authority and harassment in general, which a separate survey by staff unions showed to be seven times more prevalent in the organisation. So some staff in the field will get fired for visiting prostitutes but major harassers at the senior level remain protected.   And what about Jan Beagle who was part of senior management at UNAIDS and linked in the independent report to facilitating a culture of harassment when there? How does the SG respond, if at all?" Three hours later, no response at all. But this, from Code Blue: "Code Blue is unsurprised by the UN staff survey results but shocked and deeply concerned by disingenuous statements within Secretary-General Mr. Guterres’ letter announcing the results to UN personnel. What follows is an initial fact-check of some of the most unacceptable  statements within the Secretary-General’s letter.      “Since taking office, I have emphasized my personal commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment...”     FACT: Last month, an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) released conclusions of its 6-month inquiry into “sexual harassment, abuse of power, and bullying at UNAIDS, saying that the Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, has “created a patriarchal culture tolerating harassment and abuse of authority” that “fails to uphold the United Nations’ law and values.” The panel called for his dismissal.     Mr. Guterres has not suspended Mr. Sidibé, asked for his resignation, nor made any comment.     “As an organization founded on equality, dignity and human rights, we must lead by example and set the standard.”   FACT: The Secretary-General has never commented on any of the recent public reports of  sexual misconduct in several other UN organizations —including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).    “Significant steps have also been taken to strengthen our system-wide investigative capacity to accelerate investigations…”   FACT: Six new investigators have been hired. The survey indicates that 5,162 UN personnel were subjected to sexual harassment in the past two years.    In April 2018, Mr. Guterres announced that he was initiating a new investigation, through OIOS, into sexual assault and harassment charges lodged against the former Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, Luiz Loures. Nothing has been announced since about this “new investigation.”   “[Significant steps have also been taken]...to ensure that they are victim-focused”    FACT: Despite his public promises in early 2017 to do so, the Secretary-General has refused to meet with three survivors of sexual assault by UN personnel who have written to him directly to request personal meetings,      “...our actions are having an impact…. I convened a senior-level Task Force...to strengthen and harmonize our efforts. In the first year of operation, the Task Force has delivered concrete improvements including...a screening database that prevents the rehire of those who have perpetrated sexual harassment while employed in the system.”    FACT: The Secretary-General’s Task Force is headed by Ms. Jan Beagle, who was promoted to Under-Secretary-General by Mr. Guterres while she herself was under investigation for workplace harassment at UNAIDS." We'll have more on this. Can the UN turn the corner with a Secretary General who has promoted impunity, including his own for corruption (including undisclosed links with UN briber CEFC China Energy) and censorship? With Guterres as usual promoting impunity - he'd done it as ICSC too -- Sidibe on December 13 announced he will stay until June 2019. At ICSC, the harasser is having his own farewell party, and making the staff pay. It's an impunity party, for Sidibe as well. This is Guterres' UN. The day before, the degree to which even those purporting to urge UN reform give impunity to the cause of most of the problems and the man responsible, Antonio Guterres, has become clear in Sweden. The country's International Development Cooperation Minister Isabella Lovin said, “We have no confidence in him. He has to resign now,” she daily Svenska Dagbladet, adding “I’ve even told him so personally." Meanwhile (outgoing?) Sweden foreign minister Margot Wallstrom, who knows better and knows of his censorship, tweets a photo greeting Guterres with no mention of UNAIDS much less Guterres' censorship which much end. The kids-glove treatment of the UN being harmed by Guterres only makes the harm longer term. o confidence in him. He has to resign now,”  told daily Svenska Dagbladet, adding “I’ve even told him so personally”.We have no confidence in him. He has to resign now,”  told daily Svenska Dagbladet, adding “I’ve even told him so personally”.On December 10 Dujarric tried to explain Guterres inaction on Sidibe compardd to Kofi Annan firing Ruud Lubbers of UNHCR by saying "Lubbers of the focus" - so what, defending multiple sexual harassers and creating the toxic atmosphere for it is OK with Guterres? Sidibe should resigned - and so such Guterres, more and more people are saying. With Guterres running interference for Sidibe, now conflicted proxies have been deployed. José M. Zuniga of IAPAC intones, "Evaluating a leader’s fitness to lead requires a rigorous 360 degree appraisal of the organization’s ecosystem and its leader’s role in supporting the organization to be adaptive in the face of crisis; @UNAIDS’s many successes should also not be reduced to 1 sentence in a 70-page report." Well, it's more than one sentence. And as pointed out by Sima Newell, Michel Sidibe's daughter Imane Sidibe is on Zuniga's staff at IAPAC. This has echoes of Guterres and his son Pedro Guimarães e Melo De Oliveira Guterres, on which we will have more. As even UN supporters are musing about merging UNAIDS into WHO, and funders are grumbling, some including Sweden's (otherwise?) astute foreign minister Margot Wallstrom, here, are still failing to ask why Guterres of the "zero tolerance" claim has so long corruptly defended UNAIDS Sidibe - and UNMAS Agnes Marcailloux, see Inner City Press December 9 exclusive here. From the UN's December 7 transcript, Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric: "I would encourage you to read the press release put out by Mr. Sidibé this morning, in which he clearly outlines everything he's done and will continue to do." Now some appear surprised as this side of Guterres. But he has accepted bribery and even a UN NGO pitching weapons for oil to Chad's Idriss Deby, leaving the NGO in the UN and banning Inner City Press which asked. Some are saying Sidibe must resign or see UNAIDS go down in flames. The same is true of Guterres. From the report: "The Panel identified four primary factors contributing to systemic failures within UNAIDS:
1. GOVERNANCE: The UNAIDS Secretariat is governed in a way that has produced a vacuum
of accountability.
2. LEADERSHIP: The Executive Director of the UNAIDS Secretariat has created a patriarchal
culture tolerating harassment and abuse of authority and in his interviews with the Panel
he accepted no responsibility for actions and effects of decisions and practices creating the
conditions that led to this review.
3. MANAGEMENT: The unsafe culture created within UNAIDS Headquarters is magnified in
isolated Country Offices where directors, who may be favoured or not, often do not
demonstrate the necessary management skills or ethical compass to guide their behaviour
toward staff members.
4. COMPLAINTS POLICY AND PROCESS: There is no process that is independent of management
or offers true redress proportionate to the nature of the different types of misconduct. There
is an absence of preventive measures, and the formal and informal processes for handling
complaints are slow, ineffective, and no  trusted as confidential. Staff in field locations
have less access to the mechanisms." AIDS Free World's Paula Donovan said, "Michel Sidibé and the inner circle that has been protecting him can no longer continue to lead UNAIDS. As of 10 a.m. EST, the Secretary-General, who appointed Mr. Sidibé, has been completely silent. This is unacceptable." Yes - but not surprising. Look at Guterres' silence on the slaughter in Cameroon, travel waste at UNDP (which he shares); Guterres has had roughed and banned Inner City Press, for 156 days, as AIDS Free World and Code Blue know. We'll have more on this. D
espite an official memorandum issued on behalf of UNAIDS'
Programme Coordinating Board Bureau by UK Chairperson Daniel Graymore on 29 October 2018 that "the Independent Expert Panel’s report, along with a Management Response from the UNAIDS Secretariat and a Statement from the UNAIDS Secretariat Staff Association, will be discussed at the 43rd PCB meeting [on December 11th and] all reports will be posted publicly online by Monday 3 December 2018" - neither has been complied with. While some asked, when will Guterres be shown a copy of the report, this is downplaying his role. A fish rots, and is rotting, from the head. A Secretary General allowed to openly target those who question him and have them banned from all UN premises, apparently for life, is responsible when others below him in the UN System retaliate and cover up. We'll have more on this - and on this -- now after UNAIDS country director in South Africa director Erasmus Morah made legal threats in September against a women alleging, on Facebook, that he sexually harassed her, UNAIDS spokesperson Sophie Barton-Knott says the agency's South Africaa country director has (belatedly) been put on administrative leaving pending a review / cover up by WHO's OIOS which previously served Sidibe (and Luiz Loures) so well. Reuters, typically, does not mention Michel Sidibe or name the country director or his legal threat, which is easily found online. Guterres and his enablers are making the UN system more and more UNaccountable each day. See November 20 video here. After refusing Inner City Press' Cameroon question and driving off in his / your Mercedes, Guterres left town, without the UN saying to where or who's paying. Now, even while banned from entering the UN by Guterres, this is an exclusive, too: in an October 31 meeting in Conference 6 in the UN from which Guterres has in retaliation banned Inner City Press for 119 days and counting, staff were initially told that "off color jokes" could not be sexual harassment. This from a UN official who admitted that if it were his family member who was the victim, he would go to the 17th Precinct of the New York Police Department. What hypocrisy, when this same part of the UN refuses to investigate and act on Guterres' Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins' July 3 (and June 22) assaults on Inner City Press with other UN DSS officers unnamed, and UN Security lobbies NYPD not to respond to Inner City Press' Freedom of Information Law requests. Another UN official said that harassed staff members are pressured not to go to the press. And in Rome, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization mimics Guterres by attacking - there legally, not like Guterres physically with Security and lawlessly with a secret list - the media that reports on it. The Italian Insider has reported in detail on sexual harassment charges against FAO's human resources official Fernando Servan. On November 6, still banned from the UN noon briefing for the 125th day and with no one who is allowed in asking about this, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesmen and Deputy and USG Smale questions including: "November 6-4: On UN system sexual harassment, what is the SG's comment and action on the involuntary kissing of an FAO staffer by Peruvian human resources official reported in The Italian Insider, and on FAO / official suing Italian Insider?" There was no answer to this, despite the promise Guterres' USG Alison Smale made not only to the Government Accountability Project then to Inner City Press, but also to the UN's own Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Information David Kaye, in her evasive answer two months after to his (some of) his questions about her ouster of Inner City Press -- no answer on appeal. Inner City Press asked the question again, sharpened, on November 7:

Hours later, rather than response by Guterres who claims he takes sexual harassment seriously, another buckpassing and bout of impunity as with Michel Sidibe at UNAIDS: "Regarding your questions on FAO, FAO has the following to say: 'The allegation was made in an article by the Italian Insider on a rumour concerning activities outside the workplace and, pending any formal complaint, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.
FAO has a policy of zero tolerance towards any form of sexual harassment, sexual exploitation or abuse. The Organization is committed to ensuring a work environment that is free of harassment, in particular sexual harassment, as well as the highest standards of conduct for its employees with regard to sexual exploitation and abuse.'" So when UNSG Guterres is asked about FAO allowing rank sexual harassment, Guterres' spokesmen provide only the self-serving response of FAO which is suing the press that reported on the harassment, with Guterres silent or cheering, as he bans Inner City Press...
Guterres after his junket in Lisbon is meeting with the UN Chief Executives Board, who have put up with his censorship and debasement of the UN, including the Director of FAO. We'll have more on this.

This Guterres cover up extends to what the UN views as separate, sexual exploitation and abuse. Inner City Press asked, without answer by close of business: "November 6-5: On UN sexual exploitation and abuse, yesterday you said “Vannina in my office has more information.” But all I was sent was the script / note that was read out, nothing additional. So what was the additional information you said on camera was in your office? Please immediately provide it - including figures for civilian personnel, partners, and personnel of UNSC authorized operation (not, it seems, on the Conduct and Discipline website)."
In the October 31 meeting - we have the names but out of respect for now for some current UN staff don't use them - an intern complained about the prevalence of sexual harassment for delegates or diplomats. It was claimed that Guterres is working on this - while he most recently had a female foreign minister change from a meeting in his office on the 38th floor to his residence on Sutton Place and even then summoned her upstairs, not from the flags and meeting room on the mansion's first floor but up into his personal quarters. A fish rots from the head. This meeting and the claims made about Guterres' responses were a matter of derision and disgust among many staff members - we'll have more on this.

This also was an Inner City Press exclusive: at the International Civil Service Commission, sexual harassment at which Inner City Press asked Guterres spokesmen about in person until roughed up and banned, the chairman Kingston Rhodes facing complaints is rounding up signatures of support, much like Louis Loures and now Michel Sidibe at UNAIDS. This is Guterres' UN: no standards, every man for himself and smash and ban the Press that asks. Here is a photo of the "petition" Kingston Rhoades has launched. We are also informed from UN / OIOS sources, not the filer, that a filing has been made with the Office of Internal Oversight Services, which has yet act on Inner City Press' filings on Cameroon, Guterres, Dujarric, Smale and others. This is Guterres' UN. And so, since corrupt Guterres, Smale and Dujarric continue to ban Inner City Press from their dying briefing since July 3, but we are here asking these questions: How many signatures one would need to clear a perpetrator?
How many signatures are needed to protect victims not only from sexual harassment, but from continuous retaliation and intimidation?
What are the duties of the UN staff during an investigation, are they allowed to harass further the victims and whistle blowers?
Is this how SG Guterres is protecting from victims from retaliation as he promised?
Is this what 'gender equality and empowerment of women" when women are used by those in power to attack the victims further?"
We'll have more on this.


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